March 21, 2007

Bush Digs In, Democrats Double Down

George Bush took the only option left open to him yesterday by his Department of Justice -- defending executive privilege. He defiantly stated at a press conference that he would not allow his advisors to testify under oath in the controversy over the dismissals of eight federal prosecutors, but he did offer to provide them for "conversations" with Congressional inquiries into the issue:

Inviting a showdown with congressional leaders over the firing of U.S. attorneys, a defiant President Bush on Tuesday refused to make White House political strategist Karl Rove available for public questioning under oath.

Bush agreed to let lawmakers interview Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet E. Miers in private, but the concessions failed to placate Democrats, who have accused the White House and Justice Department of dismissing eight federal prosecutors for political reasons.

The House and Senate Judiciary committees readied plans for today and Thursday to authorize subpoenas for Rove and other officials.

Bush said his staff would oppose the subpoenas, setting the stage for a possible constitutional confrontation in which past and current members of the White House staff could be held in contempt of Congress.

As Bush stated, this is actually a reasonable compromise. It allows Congress to get testimony from White House aides such as Karl Rove without establishing a precedent for the trammeling of executive privilege. As Arlen Specter noted in support of Bush's proposal, Congress could accept his offer as a first step. If they interviewed Rove and Harriet Miers and found points that required further investigation, then they could move to the subpoena process, but in the meantime they could slow the rush towards a Constitutional clash between the branches.

Unfortunately, that seems to be what the Democrats want -- and it shows them overplaying their hand on the wrong issue. The termination of the attorneys involved did not break any laws, certainly not in the process used, and that's all about which Rove and Miers will testify. A challenge to executive privilege would almost certainly fail without strong evidence of an actual crime; the courts will not tip the balance of power in Congress' favor for a fishing expedition, especially when the executive branch offered a reasonable compromise.

In a way, this kerfuffle has provided an interesting distraction from the Democrats' other promised investigations. They wanted to start a hailstorm of subpoenas for investigations on everything from the Iraq war to energy policy, all of them more significant in the long run than this controversy, and more politically lucrative for the Democrats. Instead of just making the point that the administration allowed political hacks to run wild at Justice and embarrass the White House for a while, the Democrats have turned it into an issue that has overshadowed all others -- and has deprioritized their ever-changing efforts to end the Iraq war.

Without a doubt, though, this is an issue that the Department of Justice and the White House brought upon themselves, especially with their ham-handed efforts to explain the firings as "performance related". That explanation to Congress flew in the face of the DoJ's own documentation, and it forced the terminated attorneys to defend themselves publicly. David Iglesias writes his defense in the New York Times today:

United States attorneys have a long history of being insulated from politics. Although we receive our appointments through the political process (I am a Republican who was recommended by Senator Pete Domenici), we are expected to be apolitical once we are in office. I will never forget John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, telling me during the summer of 2001 that politics should play no role during my tenure. I took that message to heart. Little did I know that I could be fired for not being political.

Politics entered my life with two phone calls that I received last fall, just before the November election. One came from Representative Heather Wilson and the other from Senator Domenici, both Republicans from my state, New Mexico.

Ms. Wilson asked me about sealed indictments pertaining to a politically charged corruption case widely reported in the news media involving local Democrats. Her question instantly put me on guard. Prosecutors may not legally talk about indictments, so I was evasive. Shortly after speaking to Ms. Wilson, I received a call from Senator Domenici at my home. The senator wanted to know whether I was going to file corruption charges — the cases Ms. Wilson had been asking about — before November. When I told him that I didn’t think so, he said, “I am very sorry to hear that,” and the line went dead.

A few weeks after those phone calls, my name was added to a list of United States attorneys who would be asked to resign — even though I had excellent office evaluations, the biggest political corruption prosecutions in New Mexico history, a record number of overall prosecutions and a 95 percent conviction rate. (In one of the documents released this week, I was deemed a “diverse up and comer” in 2004. Two years later I was asked to resign with no reasons given.)

That, to me, indicates a problem with Domenici and Wilson more than the White House, which seems to have caved to Congressional pressure on Iglesias. Will Congress demand a public explanation, under oath, from their own? Unlikely, since many of them stick their noses into ongoing investigations, including Chuck Schumer on the Plame investigation. However, it still reflects poorly on the DoJ and Gonzales' administration, which showed no loyalty to someone they considered a star, pitching him under the bus when someone griped about his handling of one particular case.

The entire issue shows political hackery all the way around -- and if the Democrats aren't careful, they may come out as the biggest hacks of all.


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» Bush, Congress And Courts Heading Towards Political High Noon from The Moderate Voice
Get ready, because it’s going to be high noon at the political and judicial corral. The ostensible issue: getting the bottom of what was behind the firing of Republican prosecutors who were either pursing Republicans or wouldn’t be pressur... [Read More]

» Yeehaw, today’s round-up! from The Anchoress
And we’ll start by noting that Sister Toldjah is sayin’ The Cowboy is Back. That would be Dubya, who has apparently roused himself into sufficient anger to tell the congress that no, they may not subvert the constitution by infringing upon... [Read More]

» The “Nixon test” doesn’t apply from Macsmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
Already the left and some of the right are trying to say that the President’s use of executive priviledge will not work in the case of the US attorneys because of the 1974 ruling of United States v. Nixon. From Hot Air, Allahpundit writes: “... [Read More]

» 2007.03.21 Gonzalesgate update from Bill's Bites
Still worn out and staying busy adding new Old War Dogs so I'm going to settle for some linky-love again unless something really major happens. Ed Morrissey: Bush Digs In, Democrats Double Down Michelle Malkin: The age of investigation Allahpundit: [Read More]

» THURS MAR 22 Those Adorable Lying Democrats from The Pink Flamingo

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Comments (86)

Posted by obladioblada [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 6:39 AM

There may be a pitiful up side to this. The Dems are wasting what little remains of the public trust to further destroy the credibility of the government with this foolishness, but at least they don't have any big legislative agenda.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 6:57 AM

It's the omissions that often tell the tale:

Shades of Rose Mary Woods? An 18 day gap?
I think a commenter in our document dump research thread may have been the first to notice that the emails released by the Justice Department seem to have a gap between November 15th and December 4th of last year.
(Our commenter saw it late on the evening of the dump itself -- see the comment date-stamped March 20, 2007 02:19 AM in the research thread)
The firing calls went out on December 7th. But the original plan was to start placing the calls on November 15th. So those eighteen days are pretty key ones.
Mike Allen spotted it this evening in the Politico.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 7:06 AM

I have to disagree that this is a good compromise.

Congress gets to interview them behind closed doors with no recording of the dialog? May as well not even talk to them.

You say it could be a good first step, that if they had something of substance to say they could bring them back on the record? What's the point of that?

If they have something of substance to say, why not have it open or at least transcribed? I don't understand the resistance to this. If there's nothing to hide, they did nothing wrong, then just come and talk to congress on the record. It's really that simple.

Posted by Captain Ed [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 7:08 AM


You mean that eighteen-day period after a national election, when half of Washington went on vacation? Those eighteen days?

That's a reach. This wasn't the only item on people's desks, either.

Posted by johnnymozart [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 7:16 AM

I don't understand the resistance to this. If there's nothing to hide, they did nothing wrong, then just come and talk to congress on the record. It's really that simple.

Ask Scooter Libby about that.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 7:21 AM

Scooter Libby lied.

Posted by MarkD [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 7:24 AM

Somebody doesn't understand the meaning of "precedent."

Bush, quite frankly, was wrong to even offer any testimony. I'd counter with an offer to honor Schumer's request for an independent prosecutor to look into the illegal seeking of Michael Steele's credit report.

Posted by Lightwave [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 7:25 AM

I don't agree with the upside of this being "pitiful" and I strongly reject the notion that the Dems don't have an agenda.

On the contrary, the good news is this week that the Democrats will be unmasked for what they truly are: partisan hypocrites with one of the most dangerous legislative agendas possible: the surrender of Iraq and its people to the slaughterhouse of Al Qaeda.

First, the Dems have finally gotten to the heart of the matter on the USA firings and it has nothing to do with Gonzales. It has everything to do with going after harrier Miers and especially Karl Rove. If Bush takes this particular issue at this particular time to this particular Supreme Court, he will win. The Democrats know this, but they've gone too far to turn back now. This defeat will pretty much end the Democrat's chances in 08, for all of them will be implicated in the witch hunt against Bush. Even better, this will display the media's role in the attacks on Bush for all to see. The backlash in 08 will be devastating.

Second, watch the House vote on the Pelosi Surrender To Al Qaeda Act closely. Note who votes for the bill when it goes down in flames. Holding the vote this soon after the Gathering of Eagles proved the American people will not tolerate surrender may be the single biggest mistake of Pelosi's short career as Speaker. Anyone who votes for this bill is all but gone in 08. Again, the ads write themselves, and the backlash will be devastating.

I said last week that the biggest story in Washington was the coming self-destruction of the Dems, and this week will seal the deal.

Posted by obladioblada [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 7:37 AM

There was a kerfuffle over a similar situation in the Carter administration. It was huge news nationally and had Philadelphia in an uproar. It's taken a while to sift throught the memory banks:

Time Magazine story here:,9171,945941,00.html

As Republicans rubbed their hands in glee, the Carter Administration last week found itself trying to explain away a skein of presidential lies. In a letter to Justice Department investigators looking into the firing two weeks ago of Philadelphia's Republican U.S. Attorney, David Marston, Carter last week corrected a misstatement he had made during a nationally televised press conference on Jan. 12. Republican Congressmen saw an opportunity to duplicate last summer's damaging controversy over Bert Lance's financial peccadilloes, and to lay siege again to what was once the President's pride: his credibility...

William Safire, New York Times columnist and former Nixon speechwriter, who believes in equal opportunity for Democrats to have their own Watergate, raised familiar questions: What did he know? When did he know it? In this case, they were fair questions. Affidavits released last week showed that a veteran Justice Department official, Russell Baker Jr., had been notified by Marston's office as early as last Aug. 17 about an investigation involving Eilberg, a powerful House Judiciary subcommittee chairman. Eilberg's Philadelphia law firm had received a handsome $500,000 in legal fees while helping to obtain federal financing for a new hospital in the city. Also involved in the project and the investigation into it was another prominent Pennsylvania Democrat, Congressman Daniel Flood. It was revealed last week that a former Flood aide, after being granted immunity from further prosecution, accused the Congressman of trading his influence for $100,000 in cash and bank stock...

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 8:09 AM

Biden wasted little time following Bushes speech, announcing the Democratic plan to issue widespread subpoenas for white house officials. Yep, this behavior is winning over the minds and hearts of the American people...

How many times have you heard that President Bush's approval ratings are low? Guess what: the Democratic Congress's approval rating is lower.

For some reason, this hasn't been getting much press. But the low esteem in which voters held Congress prior to November's election barely changed after the Democrats took power in January. Today, Gallup notes that the modest bounce Congress experienced in January and February is now gone:

The modest uptick in approval of the job being done by Congress has dissipated for the most part after only two months.

According to Gallup's monthly update on job approval of Congress -- in a March 11-14, 2007, national poll -- 28% of Americans approve of the job being done by Congress and 64% disapprove.

This graphic shows Gallup's trend pretty clearly:


Gallup is not alone. Check out all of the polls, collected at Real Clear Politics. The polls consistently show that Congress never got more than a slight bounce when it changed hands in January, and its ratings now are pretty much where they were when the Republicans were in control before the election.

I attribute this to the fact that the Democrats have no positive agenda. They patently have no interest in doing the people's business, and, similarly, show no interest in appealing to any element of the electorate other than the hard-core haters who form their base. (polipundit)

If they keep this up, a 28% approval rating will be looking good by this time next year. Which is exactly what we see here at this site from our Liberals; the word "positive plan" is simply not in the Liberal playbook. Defeat, Retreat, Surrender, a consistent dose of HATRED of Republicans and Christians, bow at the knees of the enemy; this is all we see from Democrats and the lefties commenting here at CQ.

Posted by johnnymozart [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 8:39 AM

Tom Shipley,

So did Bill Clinton. But that never seems to bother you guys, does it?

Umm. .....why is Richard Armitage not in jail again?

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 8:46 AM

I know it sounds hopelessly optimistic but GWB couldn't have picked a better fight to stumble into if he'd planned it.

There is almost nothing at risk here and a great deal to be gained by the Presidency, if the President wants a fight. The Congress has almost nothing to stand on in any of this, and if George wants to jam one down their throats then this is the perfect one. The Congress has no right to demand anything from the White House on a matter that the President has absolute discretion over. He can fire them all if he get's an upset stomach or he doesn't like their tie that day, and the rationale for "independence" is so thin you could see through it with a glass eye!

I hope the White House made their offer because they knew it would be rejected loudly, and thereby committ the Democratic majority to its brain-dead strategy. I hope the White House slams the door on them by quickly withdrawing the offer now that its been rejected, and quickly brings this issue to a head. I doubt the Democrats will be stupid enough to bring this to the courts, but maybe they will - who knows?

This is a victory waiting to be gathered in.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 8:50 AM

Hillary Clinton last week sent out a mass e-mail asking supporters to sign a petition calling for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign. Now she’s set her sights even higher and revealed her real target: top presidential aide Karl Rove.

A new e-mail from Hillary’s campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle urges: "Let’s keep the pressure on. Since tens of thousands of you joined Hillary in calling for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign, we have learned even more about the political motivations behind the firings of several U.S. attorneys.

"We know now that the White House’s involvement goes even deeper than we thought – all the way to Karl Rove and beyond – and we likely won’t find out the whole story until there is a full Congressional investigation. But one thing is still clear: Alberto Gonzales needs to go.

This is the Democrat plan; forget campaign reform; forget pork reform; we must continue the task of polarizing America; attack, attack, attack.... It's what we do, & we do it best... SS reform, forget it. Fixing public education, forget it. Making tax cuts permanent, no freakin way. Protecting small businesses, forget it.

Posted by OldDeadMeat [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 8:53 AM

Sorry Lew, I have to disagree. Remember, politics is about appearances as much or more than substance.

It appears the administration is lying to Congress.

It appears like the administration was firing attorneys for refusing to be yes-men for the administration.

Agreeing to talk but refusing to be under oath appears like Rove and Gonzales are afraid to testify - which looks like they have something to hide.

With a deeply unpopular president who can't even rely on the support of his own party in Congress (having alienated his allies), there is very little downside for the Democrats.

Legally, they may lose in front of the Supremes, but that doesn't really help anybody.

Remember - George Bush has lost the credibility of the electorate, which expressed its displeasure by changing control of Congress - by extension the Dems can very easily make it appear as if the President is resisting the will of the public.

This is an easy pill for the undecided to swallow, especially with Republicans calling for the AG's resignation - which leaves the Pres's partisanship claim worthless. That's right, WORTHLESS.

There is also a bigger risk with this issue than with others b/c 1- U.S. attorneys are law enforcement officials - they are political appointees, but they are NOT supposed to be political in their activities - they are supposed to be incorruptible/uncorrupted agents of the public, not the administration; 2- it can easily be made to appear that they were being replaced for resisting political coercion/corruption and 3- the administration apparently lied about the process - all of which might tip the Supremes to allow Congress to subpoena them.

Granted, I think this is low risk, but on this issue it's a higher risk than many others.

"Overplaying their hand" is a bit much at this point - there is very little chance of this rebounding to hurt the Democrats - again it's an unforced error - the Dems have rounded second base and stretching for third

Posted by danforth323 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 8:54 AM

bush should pardon libby now and make the connection that the dems are criminalizing politics. dems want testimony under oath with no real evidence of an underlying crime. (same as the cia leak investigation). bush will be protecting his people from the traps the dems are setting. if dems push this all the way and are defeated they will pay a big price in 2008. call it the libby talking points. there are probably better "scandals" than this one that was handed to them but they ran with it and went too far and just couldn't help themselves. looks like bush/rove let them too! future subpoenas may be viewed with skepticism as well...

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 9:02 AM

As Bush stated, this is actually a reasonable compromise. It allows Congress to get testimony from White House aides such as Karl Rove without establishing a precedent for the trammeling of executive privilege.

Ed, it's not reasonable at all. President Bush wants only "conversations" behind closed doors, not under oath, with no transcript allowed. This gives Rove and anyone else license to lie without consequence. There's no matter of executive privilege involved here, other than the sort of privilege to be held unaccountable that Bush expects as his due. Presidential aides have in fact testified under oath to Congress many times before, and Bush's can damn well testify under oath now. What is it about the words "So help me God" that Bush and Rove find so repellant? This lame effort of Bush's practically screams to Congress "Don't look in the White House for any smoking guns! Really! We mean it!" It's not just a matter involving only Domenici and Wilson either, because THEY DIDN'T FIRE THE U.S. ATTORNEYS, or lamely try to later make excuses about their "performance" somehow lacking, and that Gonzales himself lied to Congress about.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 9:09 AM


You are so easily spoon fed your thoughts and ideas; like taking a cow to slaughter.


You might be right comrade; but the fact remains that Congress has a 28% approval rating. I would take this as a bold statement by the American people; shape up or ship out...

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 9:21 AM

FYI: One of our trolls questioned Terre yesterday, regarding a comment made about Clinton having fired all 93 USA's, and an additional 30 during the following years of his Presidency. This is an exerpt from the RL show yesterday:

Her point is the author, the writer, is already a big lib, but to cover his own liberalism and to get his own opinion in, he will go out and find an expert who will echo his own sentiments, which is not hard to do. There are a lot of liberals out there. Of course when a writer does not disclose the expert's bias, you can bet that it's usually Democrat or liberal. So Clarice Feldman Googled the name W. Charles Grace, and she found that "he was a U.S. attorney in 1998 which suggests to me that President Clinton appointed him, and he appointed a lot of them, having fired every single US Attorney when he took office, and 30 more subsequently during his eight year term in office." Did you know that, folks? In addition to the '93 bloodletting of 93 US attorneys, he fired 30 more in the course of his two years. Did you know that? Nobody made a big stink about it.

Posted by OldDeadMeat [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 9:28 AM


Saw Powerline's post on that - the question is why is Congress so far down?

Is because of Pork?

Is it because the public wants out of Iraq and that's what they thought they were doing by voting in the Dems?

Is it because nothing else is getting done - e.g. Katrina relief, min wage and/or all the other Dem promises?

Whatever the case, I think the Dems calculate that this is an area where the public won't punish them and might even approve of investigating the White House. At the very least, it is a very convenient distraction for their base from Pelosi's inability to exert any sort of authority over Iraq.

My concern here is that the AG's office is where all 3 branches of gov't most directly meet. For example, if Congress overrides a president's veto, the AG's office is expected and required to enforce that law despite the President's opposition to it, and they are supposed to do so in an apolitical manner.

Moreover, of all the posts in the Excecutive, posts in Justice are where the Supremes would be most sensitive to corruption or the appearance of corruption. They could easily decide that Congress needs oversight of issues here - especially given the facts of this situation.

Bad facts make bad law, and the administration couldn't really make a worse set of facts without actively trying to sabotage itself.

Posted by CheckSum [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 9:32 AM

''This gives Rove and anyone else license to lie without consequence.''

This is the crux of the matter. Democrats care not a whit about the facts of this case; they just care about the ''consequence'' of Rove under oath. What ever Rove says, they will find another witness to say something else. The desired end result is Rove in a he said-she said perjury trial in front of a DC jury.

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 9:42 AM


Not to mention that unlike most of the earlier proto-scandals, there is no national security interest to shield the admin, either in the public eye or before SCOTUS.

I agree that it adds up to very little cover for the admin, politically or legally. The issue might be of somewhat less import than the Saddam intel, NSA wiretaps, or energy meetings, but it comes in a relatively tidy little package of communications at and between DOJ and the WH. And that's hard to beat.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 9:45 AM

As if the "performance" excuses from the DoJ about the fired U.S. attorneys couldn't get any lamer, they do:

Fired U.S. attorneys ranked above peers in prosecutions
WASHINGTON — Six of the eight U.S. attorneys fired by the Justice Department ranked in the top third among their peers for the number of prosecutions filed last year, according to an analysis of federal records.
In addition, five of the eight were among the government's top performers in winning convictions.
The analysis undercuts Justice Department claims that the prosecutors were dismissed because of lackluster job performance. Democrats contend the firings were politically motivated, and calls are increasing for the resignation or ouster of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Immigration cases — a top Bush administration priority, especially in states along the porous Southwest border — helped boost the total number of prosecutions for U.S. attorneys in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

The eight U.S. attorneys were fired for political reasons, pure and simple. I wouldn't be surprised if Bush himself had a hand in it at this point, given how lame the excuses are. Except now, the Republicans aren't in charge of Congress and can't give the White House a pass on it anymore.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 9:55 AM

This is the crux of the matter. Democrats care not a whit about the facts of this case; they just care about the ''consequence'' of Rove under oath. What ever Rove says, they will find another witness to say something else. The desired end result is Rove in a he said-she said perjury trial in front of a DC jury.

CheckSum, the reason you have testimony under oath in the first place is to discourage the sort of "he said, she said" outcome that only keeps justice from being done. It is highly unusual in the extreme for President Bush to expect Congress to accept a "conversation" from his aides in secret without even a transcript being allowed, and Congress won't accept it either. Given that Gonzales himself already lied to Congress, they are not going to accept anything less than sworn, open testimony on the matter, nor should they.

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 9:56 AM


But it seems that Carol Lam won't be the point woman for that issue. DOJ seemed to genuinely think she was falling short on immigration prosecutions - and to have had a basis for doing so.

Maybe some of the other attorneys had good records on that issue, unlike (apparently) Lam. But most of those other ones were slated for firing at a pretty early date.

Generally, it still seems to be the coverups that is more damning than the firings themselves, esp. if you set the Domenici and WIlson transgressions aside.

As a side note, it will be interesting to see what role certain attorneys' refusal to prosecute non-child obscenity cases played in the culling.

Posted by johnnymozart [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:00 AM

Old Dead Meat,

I wasn't going to make any further comment on this subject, but you made some points that stood out to me. It was a good post, but I have to disagree with you on a few points:

You are absolutely correct, perception is reality, especially in Washington

It appears the administration is lying to Congress.
It appears like the administration was firing attorneys for refusing to be yes-men for the administration.

Yes, but why is that? It is because that is the way it has been portrayed in the media- it has been parlayed from a simple executive decision, not customary, with no wrongdoing to a manufactured scandal, a la Watergate and Valerie Plame. At this point, whatever is said or posted confirms the delusion. Bush talks? He's lying and covering up. Bush doesn't talk? He's covering up. Right now, there is no one in jail for "outing" Valerie Plame, even though Richard Armitage admitted that he told Novak and Woodward. Yet the perception is still one of wrongdoing by the administration. Any prosecutor knows that if you want to needle somebody you just keep asking the same question over and over until you get something you can latch on to to introduce reasonable doubt. How long do you think it would take to get Miers and Rove to disagree on what was said when 5 years ago? And no matter what the minutiae was, it would be parlayed into evidence of lying and a cover up, whether it was or it wasn't. That kind of destructive politicking is what the president seeks to avoid, and good for him. He should have shut the door in their face three weeks ago.

Look, I agree that the issue here with Gonzales is one of competence, rather than ethics; the management of this has been the most ham-handed, club footed examples of mismanagement of something that had no wrongdoing that I have ever seen. But it is clear that this is how Republicans operate. it has long been established that Democrats are far more skilled than Republicans at manufacturing scandals and playing these games. When Democrats are accused of wrongdoing, Democrats lockstep and close ranks. Republicans fold like houses of cards and do the opposite, whether or not they've done something wrong.

George Bush has lost the credibility of the electorate

I think Bush has lost credibility with the electorate, but because of the loss of support from his own party because of his anemic responses to immigration and Democratic obstructionism. The Republican Congress lost credibility and THAT is why the Democrats took over, not the former. I think its a mistake to view the election as a referendum on Bush. For the Democrats, everything was referendum on Bush. That didn't change. For everyone who did not vote Democrat, it was a referendum on the behavior of the issues they care about and the behavior of the corrupt Congress.

there is very little chance of this rebounding to hurt the Democrats

I'm not sure I agree with this. These charges are going to be exceptionally difficult to prove, especially in the face of executive privilege. And a long drawn out process that makes Bush look like a victim of a partisan witch hunt, which he would likely win in the Supreme Court, only makes it appear as if everything said about liberals: they aren't interested in the justice, only power/revenge, they say they care about the troops/America, but they really don't, etc

The Republicans didn't win any points for the two years they spent pretending they never had a blowjob. Spending resources on this and 19 "troop withdrawal" bills, while a war is going on, will not score points for Democrats with the American public, either.

Posted by johnnymozart [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:11 AM

CheckSum, the reason you have testimony under oath in the first place is to discourage the sort of "he said, she said" outcome that only keeps justice from being done

Or unfortunately, to fish for "perjury" when you know that you cannot convict for the "crime" for which you are asking for testimony.

They failed to see the Rove "frogmarch" with Plame, so now they're going to try again. And they'll fail this time, also.

Posted by runawayyyy [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:20 AM

The republicans aren't in charge of congress, and can't give bush a pass anymore? A pass on what exactly? A pass on perfectly legal POLITICALLY BASED firings of attorneys bush has every right to fire? I highlight the term "politically based" to show that no matter how accurate (or not) your whining about the firings being politically based is, it DOES NOT MATTER. it was perfectly legal, no matter how you choose to characterize it.

Biwah was absolutely correct here. the leftists know they have no legal standing here UNLESS they can find contradicting statements UNDER OATH. Executive privelege exists so that one branch of govt cannot exert undue influence over another in matters reserved SOLELY to that branch. In this case, leftists like dude know they can count on a washington DC jury to return a conviction based on nothing more than the failure to remember every single detail of every single conversation they had with anyone 2 years prior to being questioned about it.

That being said, it is obvious that the leftists are doing this because they know they will get away with it, and they're probably correct. It is now illegal to speak while republican. Get used to it folks, whack-jobs like dude are now in charge and they aren't gonna give up power again for anything, ever.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:27 AM

But it seems that Carol Lam won't be the point woman for that issue. DOJ seemed to genuinely think she was falling short on immigration prosecutions - and to have had a basis for doing so.

biwah, the Border Patrol report about Lam falling short on immigration prosecutions that caught the attention of Congressman Darryl Issa (and thus the DoJ) turned out to be bogus, and like many other "performance" claims is just another excuse. I posted more about it back in The Loose Cannon At Justice discussion here, but here's the skinny:

"Representative Issa has been misled. The document he calls a "Border Patrol Report" is actually an old internal Border Patrol document, related to a single substation, that has been substantially altered and passed off as an official report. Many of the comments in the document to which Representative Issa refers are editorial comments inserted by an unidentified individual, and they were not approved by or ever seen by Border Patrol management."

Given how this non-legit Border Patrol "report" came out around the time of Carol Lam's staring to inquire about other GOP-related corruption matters *after successfully convicting Re. Randy "Duke" Cunningham) and the Kyle Sampson memo dated a few weeks before that saying there was a "real problem" with Lam, and it smells like a setup.

Posted by Rob D [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:30 AM

runawayyyy - It is not only "leftists" who are concerned about US Attorneys being able to remain independent of direct day-to-day influence from a political party, no matter which party.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:36 AM

ODM, you're arguing appearances and polls and popularity? Who cares?

I'm telling you that the administration has a perfect opportunity to knock that whole arena of calculations right into the trash can where it always belonged in the first place. They have a rock solid case of executive privelege if one ever existed.

The President is not elected to "go along to get along" with Congress. His entire job is designed to be contemptuous of Congress and whoever inhabits the office will always fail if they spend too much time and energy fretting over it. The President's job is to dominate Congress, not to work for them. He's a gatekeeper and he's supposed to oppose them. He has the right and the power to reject any demand from Congress that he deems inappropriate to his office.

Remember, Ronald Reagan's finest hour was the day he canned every air traffic controller in the country. Bill Clinton's finest hour was when he shut down the entire federal government and blamed it on Newt Gingrich. George W. Bush's finest hour can be when he tells Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to stuff their nitwit subpeoneas where the sun don't shine!

The day George W. Bush stands up on his hind legs and start's behaving like the President of the United States is the day his popularity soars!

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:38 AM

"I highlight the term "politically based" to show that no matter how accurate (or not) your whining about the firings being politically based is, it DOES NOT MATTER. it was perfectly legal, no matter how you choose to characterize it."

I wouldn't be so sure about that. If the attorneys were fired for what were cited as performance issues, but it turns out it was for political reasons... they may have a wrongful discharge case on their hands.

The president has the right to fire the attorneys, as do any employers have the right to fire subordinates. But you have to have good reason to fire somebody.

Now, this is a unique situation. It's not exactly an employee being fired at CDW. But, if it's shown that attornies were let go because they did not pursue political charged cases as far as the administration would have liked, but were told it ws because of their job performance (despite good job reviews), well, then something stinks.

If what this guys says is true, something stinks.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:44 AM

The republicans aren't in charge of congress, and can't give bush a pass anymore? A pass on what exactly?

A pass on things like this, runawayyyy:

N.H. Dems question timing of indictment
CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire Democrats say they will ask Congress to investigate whether prosecution of a Republican phone-jamming scheme on Election Day 2002 was intentionally delayed until after the presidential election two years later.
The furor over alleged political firings of eight federal prosecutors prompted the move, Kathy Sullivan, chairwoman of the state's Democratic Party, told The Associated Press Tuesday.
In 2002, Republicans hired a telemarketing firm to place hundreds of hang-up calls to phone banks for the Democratic Party and the Manchester firefighters union, a nonpartisan group offering rides to the polls on Election Day. Service was disrupted for about 90 minutes on Election Day.
The case resulted in four criminal convictions, including that of strategist James Tobin, who was New England chairman of President Bush's re-election campaign in 2004.
Tobin was not indicted until December 2004, a month after Bush won re-election. Allegations of his involvement in the scheme led him to resign his post with Bush's campaign a month before the election.
Members of Congress seeking answers to questions about the prosecutor firings should seek some about phone-jamming at the same time, Sullivan said.
"Why did it take so long for the indictment against Mr. Tobin to be brought?" she asked. "His name was apparently out there and known to the Department of Justice for several months and yet nothing was done with him until after the 2004 election."

Posted by SwabJockey05 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:45 AM

Run said:
"...whack-jobs like dude are now in charge and they aren't gonna give up power again for anything, ever."


Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:49 AM smells like a setup.

Maybe, SD, but if so then it was an inordinately elaborate setup that was crafted by a number of people within DOJ to look spontaneous, all well in advance of the real bruha - and (correct me if I'm wrong) - before the midterm elections. Why would they have been so canny about setting up Lam's ouster and so careless on everything else? It is my belief that the story on Lam will check out - well enough, anyway. That alibi will cut discussion of ulterior motives re Cuningham off at the knees - proving motive alone will (appropriately) not be enough.

I would also temper my earlier comment, in that IMO SCOTUS is going to recognize a substantially greater level of privilege surrounding the appearance of inner-circle WH advisers, as opposed to tapes and documents.

Posted by ming666 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:49 AM

why offer anything? what will that accomplish. take the offense. in fact take a page from world war 2 movies - where the germans would pull all the men and boys out into the town square and execute one or two every hour for as long as it took to get someone to come forward and reveal the resistance. publicly identify clinton or democrat conncected US attorney's and fire 2 for every day the democrats in congress keep this up. if we run out then move to the next exec branch agency.

Excuse the phrase but the tagline response from the Bush Administrtion to the democrats should always be, "blow me."

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:57 AM

Why would they have been so canny about setting up Lam's ouster and so careless on everything else?

biwah, I don't think this was all tightly orchestrated, but rather done ad hoc. Issa may have had his own agenda, some guy in the Border Patrol his, etc. In the case of the "performance" excuses for the U.S. attorney firings, I think that the DoJ just went back through the record and tried to find anything to support a non-political rationale for it.

Posted by johnnymozart [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 11:03 AM

The president has the right to fire the attorneys, as do any employers have the right to fire subordinates. But you have to have good reason to fire somebody.

Spoken like someone who has never signed a contract, or perhaps has never actually read their conttract. There are provisions in almost every contract, Tom, of which a professional like a US attorney is subject. One of the provisions in those contract is for termination without cause. And with a politically appointed position, even more so. Yes, it can be arbitrated. But there does not always have to be a reason. I guarantee you that every US attorney signed a contract like that.

because they did not pursue political charged cases as far as the administration would have liked, but were told it ws because of their job performance (despite good job reviews),

sigh... you are drawing a distinction where none exists. A case of suspected Democratic voter fraud in Washington, where votes were found in warehouses and where the dead voted, that isn't pursued adequately IS a job performance issue with a US attorney. Being politically charged is tangential and irrelevant. The DOJ and the WH thought it was worth investigating, some of the attorneys--less so. But the way the system is set up, the WH and DOJ get discretion. The issue is by nature politically charged. Don't like it? Change it. But you may not like the results you get when a now unassailable US attorney decides that the best way to pursue terrorism charges, for example, is to use all of his resources to pursue pornography investigations, and attempts by DOJ or WH to remove him are unsuccessful because of you. That's the opposite side of the coin that no one seems to be talking about.

Or, I suppose, instead of changing it, you could simply spend the next two years of your well-earned majority humping Karl Rove's leg.

Posted by OldDeadMeat [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 11:03 AM


Polls and appearances do matter - they lead to votes - do you want the GOP to win in '08?

Bush's best hours since the last election were the surge - why? Because he was standing up for what he thought was right, and low and behold maybe Gen. Petraeus (sp?) is making progress.

Standing up now when he's admitted he's not entirely please with the whole affair - not so compelling, especially since

1- it looks like somebody's lying - letting the Dems and MSM play up the coverup
2- Justice already looks bad with the FBI getting sanctioned for lack of accountability/control over domestic surveillance issues
3-Rock solid executive privilege? This is the WORST spot to pull exec privilege now - see my previous post + plus biwah's comment - no national security here, just the appearance of political coercion.
4- GWB has been "standing on his hind legs" right up until Rumsfeld left. Just when is his popularity supposed to soar?
5- Since when is the President supposed to dominate Congress? Huh? Dominating Congress is part of the reason he's so weak right now - GOP Congressmen are tired of having the rug yanked out from under them which is why they aren't defending AG.
6- Lastly - GOP'ers say AG should go - that compromises the whole partisanship issue and anyone who backs AG risks being associated with Bush's Yes-Men - exactly the last thing anyone who wants to get elected in '08 wants.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 11:19 AM

Breaking news:

House Panel Orders Subpoenas for Top Bush Aides
A House Judiciary subcommittee today authorized subpoenas for Karl Rove and other senior White House officials in the investigation into the firing of eight prosecutors.

Posted by JC [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 11:56 AM

3000 pages of documents - THREE WEEKS missing, from November 15th to December 4th. When the decisions on who and why, of the attorneys, would go.

Do you REALLY believe, this is a coincidence? How can 3000 pages, eveything EXCEPT the relevant three weeks - can you deem "As Bush stated, this is actually a reasonable compromise."

Come on.

Posted by Monkei [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 12:03 PM

what a sweet deal Rove and Harriet got from the Bushmeister. I can't imagine any of us ever getting that kind of deal, but then again I think I could go before Congress under oath and tell the truth. But then again I have nothing to hide. That's what the average man on the street sees ... if you don't have anything to hide, why not testify under oath? Plain talk, Plain action. The sort of thing Ronald Reagan (the last great President) would have said.

I think the Dems should now back off this thing. They have accomplished as much from this as possible, they have shown just how much of a political hack the DOJ and it's leaders are. Gonzalez has lost all his power and can't even put in new US Attorney's without getting the OK from the US Senate.

Although I think the Bush WH is enjoying this, it takes the pressure off all the other idiotic things they have ongoing at this time!

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 12:37 PM

Although I think the Bush WH is enjoying this, it takes the pressure off all the other idiotic things they have ongoing at this time!

Monkei, I highly doubt that President Bush enjoyed having to arrange a rush TV appearance to try and bluff his way out of having his aides called by Congress to testify under oath. I think it's too late now for even Bush to stop the process that's started now by canning Gonzales. If he thinks he can take this to the Supreme Court under the pretext of protecting executive privilege, the fact that the White House has already authorized a massive document dump (except for those missing 18 days worth of emails) weakens his case severely and in the meantime he will hemmorage his administration's credibility by trying to stonewall Congress. Bush may have thought this matter would just blow over, but it's only going to get worse for him from here on out.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 12:54 PM

Tony Snow just now on that 18-day gap:

"I've been led to believe that there's a good response for it, and I'm going to let you ask them because they're going to have an answer."

Oh my, that's pathetic spin.

Posted by Lightwave [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 12:55 PM


As people have pointed out, Congressional Democrats are polling worse than Bush. Support for Pelosi and friends has dropped by almost a third just in the last month.

The honeymoon's over.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 1:20 PM

SF Dude:

I am going to break my promise not to comment because your sea-lawyering is just getting out of hand. Executive privilege can be asserted at any time. Previous actions to release information do not compromise the ability to claim it later. That why it’s called Executive Privilege. Now, I have tried to explain to you about Separation of Powers under the Constitution. The Administration will not be going to court merely claiming privilege; they will be also arguing that the entire affair is an unconstitutional intrusion by Congress into the affairs of the Executive Branch (Myers vs the United States, have you read it yet?) This will end up in the Supreme Court sometime next term because the SCOTUS is probably going to duck this issue. By the time they render a decision the subpoenas will be OBE and they will declare the case moot.

There is one more thing said yesterday that was egregiously wrong that I must correct your idiocy. You said on another thread that the firings were still illegal because the USAs are “government employees who have civil service protection of some sort. Not everybody collecting a paycheck from the federal government has civil service protection. There is excepted service for law enforcement and the intelligence communities, and there are Schedule C political employees who do not have civil service protections. In the former case there is a formal procedure to remove an employee but it can be effectively done by pulling your tickets so you can’t do your job. Political appointees have absolutely no protection and can be removed at the will of the President.

Now I return to my job and hibernation from this faux scandal. Although I will be amused by your undoubtedly stupid response I shall not answer you again.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 1:21 PM

Bob Barr, no Democrat he, talks on CNN about the firing of the U.S. attorneys:

COLLINS: All right, Bob. So that’s what the president says. That is what his offer is. If we go ahead and open up some of the newspapers today, we see from the “Chicago Tribune,” a defiant President Bush vowed to fight any effort by Congress. From the “Los Angeles Times,” “A defiant President Bush on Tuesday refused to make White House political strategist Karl Rove available…” And from “The Baltimore Sun,” “Bush spoke in sometimes defiant terms.” From the “USA Today” headline, “Bush Defiant in Prosecutors Probe.” Is this a defiant president or is this executive privilege?
BOB BARR, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it’s probably some of both. But what’s really unfortunate here, both from the White House standpoint, as well as from the more important standpoint of what’s best for the country, is the integrity of the Department of Justice is being used as a political football by the administration to prove who’s the toughest hombre in all this. It’s very unfortunate. And I’m not really sure that the administration has chosen the best line in the sand to draw here, so to speak.
Congress clearly has a right to inquire into the running of the Department of Justice, to inquire into the integrity of the process of hiring and firing U.S. attorneys, notwithstanding the fact that that that is technically a prerogative of the president. And rather than fight this, the administration really ought to be going out of its way to do what prior administrations have done, such as the Bush I administration and Reagan administrations, and that is take whatever steps are necessary to assure the American people that the integrity of our justice system has not been compromised.
COLLINS: I think you bring up a great point, and one that we really haven’t heard very much about by way of using the Department of Justice as sort of a ploy in all of this. What about, though, also, Bob, the possibility of Democrats taking the offer, listening in to what is said between Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, whoever else is going to be testifying, and if they don’t hear what they want to hear, if the questions are not answered, then moving forward and say, hey, we need to know and we need some transcript?
BARR: I think that here again the Congress, the judiciary committees in both the House and the Senate, have a pretty clear right to demand information that relates to the propriety of the running of the Department of Justice. These, after all, are all people, whether it’s Karl Rove or a U.S. attorney or an attorney general, who are paid by the taxpayers with funds appropriated by the Congress. And Congress has a right to assure itself that these funds are being used properly and that is consistent with the appropriate standards of justice and integrity at the Department of Justice.
And if the administration, which I think probably threw down the gauntlet a little bit early in this fight — I think there was really some substantial room to work a lot of this through, but the White House chose not to do that. If in fact the White House insists on not sending people forward, not making the information available, then the loser in all of this is the Department of Justice in the sense that justice is fair and impartial. That used to be the hallmark of the running of our government.

Posted by dwightkschrute [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 1:24 PM


Do you really want to tie your reputation to what terre and Clarice Feldman (much less Rush Limbaugh) say to be accurate?

The Captain himself has provided numerous links that have said this to be untrue. Yet you call me out as a troll by sourcing crackpots. Perhaps if like the Captain you actually did research you'd be a lot more credible. Research like this:

"...of 486 U.S. attorneys confirmed since 1981, perhaps no more than three were forced out in similar ways — three in 25 years" - The Congressional Research Service

CRS Report for Congress

Posted by dwightkschrute [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 1:30 PM

Jerry -

So you think you have the answer to this question posed by Ed Henry? It seems to have Tony Snow and co. baffled:

"You heard Tony Snow at the end there saying the president has no recollection of being involved in this decision to fire the US attorneys. So we asked the question then, well why are you citing executive privilege - or at least suggesting you will, and yesterday the president said the principle at stake here is candid advice from his advisers to the president - if the president was not involved in the decision, then how can you cite executive privilege on something he was really not involved in? And Tony Snow basically said, it's a good question and I don't know the answer. "

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 1:49 PM


I want Republicans to DESERVE to win, first and foremost. That requires two things; first that the President stop rolling over like a puppy every time the big bad alpha-dog up on Capitol Hill bares his teeth, and second that the Republican Party actually have the courage to offer something other than the same old same old with a new wrapper.

To address your items in order:

1. Looks like somebody is lying? Stop explaining! The answer is we fired them because we wanted the job done differently - period - end of story!

2. Justice already looks bad? Tell the AG to clean up his act and ask for whatever help he needs. Stop explaining yourself to your enemies!

3. The worst Executive Privilege case? Wrong! Executive Privilege does NOT need any supporting rationale like national security to support it. The Constitution's description of the office itself will stand on its own.

4. GWB has been standing up? BS! He's been grossly neglecting his duty to dominate the debate and a few speaking tours don't do the job any more.

5. The President isn't supposed to dominate? Then why does the Constitution give him so much power? Why was he given the veto power? Why does he have this "Bully Pulpit" that everyone mumble's on about? Why is he given the full powers of a "Co-equal" branch of government all in the form of one person? I got news for you, he's supposed to use all that power and the system is inherently and intentionally adversarial. As an Executive, he has the inherent power to set the agenda and force the other two branches to react to him, rather than the other way around. I'd call that an inherently dominant position, wouldn't you?

6. Republicans say the AG should go? Congressional Republicans should be told very firmly that the AG is staying and they had better decide whether they want to make an enemy of a very determined President of their party. Let's see them get re-elected from there!

Now I'll give you a few bullet points of my own on how to handle this situation:

1. Stop explaining! The Executive has the absolute power and he used it - get over it!

2. Pull yesterday's offer off the table immediately and slam the door in Congresses face. They get nothing!

3. Instruct the U.S. Marshall to refuse to serve any subpeaona from Congress upon any White House staff or Executive Branch Employee.

4. Publically dare the Congress to Impeach or take their case to the Supreme Court.

5. Hire a corps of media advocates and attack-dogs whose job it is to blanket every single media outlet with the President's arguments and viewpoints, just like Clinton's impeachment defense did.

The office of the President is either an independent co-equal branch of the Federal Government or its not - let's find out right now!

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 2:02 PM

Executive privilege can be asserted at any time. Previous actions to release information do not compromise the ability to claim it later. That why it’s called Executive Privilege.

jerry, claims of executive privilege are certainly weakened when the President releases 3000 pages of internal administration documents pertaining to the matter. It's rather like claiming attorney-client privilege in a case to avoid questioning of the client after releasing to the court notes exchanged between attorney and client that pertain to the question! The fact that Rove is prominently mentioned in the DoJ emails released so far means that Congress has a legitmate reason to call him to testify with regard to the fired U.S. attorneys, which is why Bush can't reasonably deny it now.

BTW, I didn't make any comments about the firings being illegal because of civil service protections.

Posted by reddog [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 2:43 PM

I don't think they can tie this up in the courts. When Congress and the President are in contension, judicial resolution must be swift.

I don't think GW can pull this off.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 2:48 PM

Something at today's White House press conference worth noting about claims of executive privilege:

Tony Snow: WH Asserts Privilege for Conversations That Never Took Place!
In the White House Press briefing that just concluded, press secretary Tony Snow said that he was not aware of the president being briefed on the US Attorney issue. He further said the president did not sign off on the firings.
CNN's Ed Henry hit the nail on the head: if no conversations occurred with the president, and no advice was given, then how can the White House assert executive privilege, claiming the need to shield presidential advice?
Tony Snow's response: "That's an intriguing question."
Darn straight it's an intriguing question! What the heck are they protecting if there exists no presidential advice on the issue? I'll tell you what they are protecting: Karl Rove and Harriet Miers, two of the President's most loyal and trusted advisers.
Snow further stated the true purpose of the White House's actions: to prevent a public 'spectacle' of a public hearing. Well, Mr. Press Secretary, you all have made your bed and it's time to lie in it.
This stinks to high Hell.
Further, on the O'Reilly Factor last night, guest Judge Andrew Napolitano clearly stated that legal precedent is that Executive Privilege applies only in the area of national security issues. For a court to change that precedent would be a major shift in judicial philosophy.
The issue of executive privilege is now dead in the water. There is no circumstance under which there is a reasonable argument for Rove, Miers, et. al to not testify under oath in a public hearing before Congress.

Posted by nandrews3 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 3:29 PM

Some of those who are rash enough (or dumb enough) to try to defend the firings are invoking the President's authority to fire -- "they serve at the pleasure of the President," and so on. This is a legal justification, not a political or policy one. It doesn't explain why firing the U.S. Attorneys was good, or right, in any sense.

Most importantly, the legal justification overlooks the issue of propriety. Is it legal for the President to fire prosecutors for investigating corruption in his own party, or for not indicting political foes during campaign season? Maybe it is. But does that make it proper to fire them? Does the President's authority to act elevate his actions beyond investigation by Congress, or accountability to the public?

Obviously there are innumerable possible actions which the President (aka Commander-in-Chief) is legally entitled to take -- but which he had better be willing and able to justify to others. Let's say he orders some military operation that appears to serve a purpose other than the national interest. How long can he get away with this simply by invoking his legal authority?

This case is just another example of the same thing. After the President appoints U.S. Attorneys and they're confirmed, what's proper is for him to keep his political shop out of their business. But now that everyone is looking at these firings, the White House is barely even trying to actually defend them. Instead it's focusing on a legal defense aimed at creating a case which will have to go before some federal court.

That's all about withholding testimony (and asserting the right to do that). It doesn't defend the propriety of the original actions. And, at least in part, this must be because there's not much of a defense to make. Some of the e-mails show Justice officials themselves straining to find any excuses. With Iglesias, and perhaps a few other attorneys, there aren't going to remain any proper grounds for what was done.

Saying there's no underlying legal offense here is really a red herring -- perhaps legally, but definitely from the standpoint of the President's public obligations. Just as Congress should investigate illegal acts, so should it investigate merely improper ones. The President may ultimately be able to obstruct this investigation. But what's proper -- for any President who defends his legal authority to act improperly -- is for the President to pay a heavy price for doing so.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 4:28 PM

So Tony Snow says today that the White House's offer to allow testimony, er, a "conversation" with aides will be withdrawn if subpoenas are issued for Rove, Miers and other officials? Something tells me that the Democrats in Congress are more than willing to go into that briar patch, B'rer Snow... :-)

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 4:35 PM

The latest from the Evans-Novak Political Report on the fate of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:

"It is impossible to find a Republican on Capitol Hill who believes either that Alberto Gonzales will survive as attorney general or that he should survive. That typifies the poor congressional relations of the Bush Administration that are rooted in arrogance."
"President Bush's gesture of phoning Gonzales to reaffirm his support is just that -- a gesture. His press conference last night to challenge the Democrats was a means of political positioning. As President Bush announced that Gonzales would appear on the Hill to testify, he was in fact throwing him to the wolves. At best, he has a few months left in office. Only a few Republicans on Capitol Hill have called for Gonzales's resignation so far, but the others are doing almost nothing to defend him."

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 5:28 PM

Finally, President Bush is ready to take the fight to the enemy within... Bring it on wimps...

Posted by CheckSum [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 5:35 PM

''Something tells me that the Democrats in Congress are more than willing to go into that briar patch, B'rer Snow...''

The same thing tells me what I said before. The Democrats don't care about the facts. They just want a gotcha.

Posted by chsw [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 5:45 PM

Didn't SCOTUS already rule on the question of POTUS' unrestricted ability to dismiss executive branch political appointees? Wasn't it US Congress v. President Andrew Johnson?


Posted by nandrews3 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 7:18 PM


You're thinking of Myers v. United States, from 1926. The Tenure of Office Act, which the Radical Republicans impeached Andrew Johnson for violating, was later repealed without having been struck down by the Supreme Court.

It's conceivable that if a smoking gun were found -- some e-mail saying "We're firing Carol Lam so we can cut off her investigation" -- then the officials involved might be liable for obstruction of justice. Courts would have to weigh a provable case of obstruction against Myers and whatever case law has followed from it.

But all this is really an example of what I cited here in my previous comment. A legal defense doesn't establish the propriety of any action. We already can see the gist of what happened here: the White House and its enablers at DOJ viewed U.S. Attorneys as obedient pets and tried to tighten their leash. That's improper, whether it's illegal or not. It may not lead to impeachment or criminal charges. But it should cost some people their offices and their reputations.

Posted by ck [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 7:27 PM

Captain - you can't be serious - a thinking man such as yourself can't even distinguish between total bs and actually offering a compromise?

Who in their right mind actually believes that having officials talk in private, not under oath, and with no transcript allowed is actually a deal? Are you guys this insane? Has the last 6 years really taken that much toll on you guys?

And as far as executive privilege goes - you guys understand that it's only for National Security -

words cannot describe the ineptness taking place on this blog -

Posted by ck [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 7:32 PM

I think a reporter said it best when he was questioning Snow - He said something along the lines of: If the WH has nothing to do with this matter, how can they claim executive privilege at all? Snow had no answer - in fact he said it was an intriguing question -

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 7:42 PM

THE PRESIDENT: We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants. Initial response by Democrats, unfortunately, shows some appear more interested in scoring political points than in learning the facts. It will be regrettable if they choose to head down the partisan road of issuing subpoenas and demanding show trials, when I have agreed to make key White House officials and documents available. I have proposed a reasonable way to avoid an impasse. I hope they don't choose confrontation. I will oppose any attempts to subpoena White House officials.

Now, that has meaning. This business -- using the term "show trials," the fact that he's offered a reasonable compromise -- he's finally not putting up with this. So you have to ask, has the tipping point finally been reached? Has he finally gotten tired of trying to deal with these people openly and fairly? Because he had to know. He had to know they were going to reject this. They're on the warpath. They're trying to keep the country in total tumult and chaos. Not just over the Iraq war. They don't want the people of this country feeling comfortable. The Democrats don't. They don't want the country feeling at ease. They don't want any contentment or even happiness out there. They have their buddies in the Drive-By Media ratcheting up all this tension and angst that everybody is feeling, and that's their objective. The president, finally here, is reacting in a way that says he's going to fight them. Here's another part of what he said.

THE PRESIDENT: It was natural and appropriate for members of the White House staff to consider, and to discuss with the Justice Department, whether to replace all 93 U.S. attorneys at the beginning of my second term. It is common for me, members of my staff, and the Justice Department to receive complaints from members of Congress, in both parties, and from other citizens -- and we did hear complaints and concerns about U.S. attorneys. Some complained about the lack of vigorous prosecution of election fraud cases, while others had concerns about immigration cases not being prosecuted. These concerns are often shared between the White House and the Justice Department, and that is completely appropriate.

He's spelling it out in black and white that there was nothing wrong here, and that everything that happened was totally appropriate, making the case for the actions taken by his DOJ and by himself and his entire crew. He's finally standing up and fighting back. This did not sit well with Chuck Schumer, who made a beeline for the Senate floor. (RL)

The Dems want a war with all Republicans, especially if you happen to be a Christian Republican. Dems are pretty confident these Republicans won't or can't fight back; won't or can't engage in a war fought in the gutters and sewers of America. So far, I'd say the Dems have been right, as Republicans have refused to engage; looking frightened and awkward at times. Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Bush will finally become a leader who will get in the mix and duke it out with these political opponents who display nothing but raw hatred for him & the party he represents. If he does, others will follow...

Let's hope John McCain & Lindsey Graham don't decide to referee this bout... These two Bafoons have caused enough grief...

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 8:02 PM

The explanation that wasn't there, from Larry Kudlow of the National Review:

Unfortunately, President Bush's news conference yesterday failed to answer the absolute key question for the public: Why did he fire the eight U.S. attorneys?
If you read the transcript, he talked about "new leadership." He also said, "Neither the Attorney General, nor I approve of how these explanations were handled. We're determined to correct the problem."
But people watching Mr. Bush will still be wondering what his explanation is.
Of course, the President has the political and constitutional authority to hire and fire these prosecutors. But why were these eight dumped? Why not the other eighty-five?
It seems to me if you use a press conference event to go over the heads of the mainstream media, and broadcast to the American public, you have to deliver a clear rationale for your actions.

You do, unless you're just bluffing and have nothing else in your hand.

Posted by Lightwave [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 8:27 PM

But the explanation *is* that simple, starfleet_dude.

They serve at the pleasure of the President.

US Attorneys, like millions of Americans, are at-will employees. They can be fired at will. These eight were. If you've ever been dismissed as an at-will employee, you know that either side, the employee or the employer, can terminate the employment contract without notice, for any reason short of already illegal reasons (discrimination, etc.)

They were fired for various reasons. Unless you can prove that the sole reason these USAs were fired was specifically for an illegal reason, you have no case. Lack of pursuing Justice Department directives is a valid reason.

Was it the best way to handle the situation? No. Was it legal? 100%. Is there anything Congress can do if it doesn't like it? Yes, they can change the appointment provisions. They voted to do just that. If this is not a Democrat witch hunt, then the President's press conference yesterday should have ended the situation.

The fact that the House voted to invest subpoena power is 100% proof that they are responsible at every step of the way for manufacturing a scandal so that they can attack Bush.

The American people aren't stupid. They know this is a witch hunt. The Democrats in Congress are even less popular than Bush is with them as a direct result of this. A majority of Americans don't want Gonzales to resign.

The Dems have gone too far with this charade to back down now, and in the end they're headed off a steep cliff. They have no plan other than to Get Bush(tm). The American people know they don't have a solution to any problems other than Get Bush(tm). It worked in November of last year. That honeymoon is already over. Get Bush(tm) cannot win them anything in 08, and they know it. Unfortunately, they've already staked the future of the party on it.

And they have no future. In 08, Bush will be gone...and so will the Democrats.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 9:00 PM

Lighwave, when even the likes of Bob Barr, Robert Novak, and the National Review's Larry Kudlow are saying President Bush has a problem on his hands, I'm inclined to think Bush has a real problem with the firing of those U.S. attorneys. Now that Congress is in the hands of the Democrats, Bush is no longer the "Decider" he used to be when the Republicans held power in the House and Senate. If there's a meta-message here, it's that Bush's powers are now going to be checked and some balance restored between the legislative and executive branches of government. It's about time.

Posted by ck [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:50 PM

Lightwave - you do understand "at will" does not mean they can fire you for whatever they want right? I know its hard to grasp, but basically they can fire you if they give no reason - But, if they fire you and its clear retribution, that's illegal -

As far as US Attorneys pleasuring the president - it doesn't work that way -
They are appointed by the president - Once in their position they are not allowed to play politics - They might do it in sneaky ways anyway, but it is not legal to act in a partisan way as a US Attorney -

Posted by viking01 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 21, 2007 10:59 PM

There is a big, BIG difference between ordering for subpoenas and actually delivering them just as their is a big difference between cutting off funding for the troops and Pelosi actually realizing that wish. Even the most rabid of Democrats are slowly beginning to grasp that concept. Shopping for a Rolls Royce at a Yugo dealership gets complicated.

The Dems and their obedient presstitutes have been claiming the sky is falling ever since Slick vacated the Oral Office. As a result the news ratings, sales, and advertising have been brought to their knees faster than a White House intern in the 1990s.

The fact that Hillary's media shills have gone berserk over the internet "1984" Apple ad spoof shows how the internet's power over activist media and their attempts to control and twist the news to suit their chosen ones can be upended overnight. Many in the activist press haven't figured out how the SwiftBoat veterans scuttled Kerry therefore it is no wonder they cannot fathom 1984 Hillary.

I agree with those about the Dem congress honeymoon being over. They've complained a lot, delivered nothing to their constituents and come across as hostile to the troops defending us so they're back to playing the disenfranchised victim card again like so many tiresome Cindy Sheehans. Like Gov. Blanco beating the FEMA drum a few hundred times too many at least Blanco realizes she overplayed the blame game and has bowed out early. Pelosi and Schumer would be wise to look beyond their egos and learn from Blanco. But they won't because ego always comes first to them.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 8:44 AM

Josh Marshall takes a look at the big picture:

Back up a bit from the sparks flying over executive privilege and congressional testimony and you realize that these are textbook cases of the party in power interfering or obstructing the administration of justice for narrowly partisan purposes. It’s a direct attack on the rule of law.
This much is already clear in the record. And we’re now having a big public debate about the politics for each side if the president tries to obstruct the investigation and keep the truth from coming out. The contours and scope of executive privilege is one issue, and certainly an important one. But in this case it is being used as no more than a shield to keep the full extent of the president’s perversion of the rule of law from becoming known.
It’s yet another example of how far this White House has gone in normalizing behavior that we’ve been raised to associate with third-world countries where democracy has never successfully taken root and the rule of law is unknown. At most points in our history the idea that an Attorney General could stay in office after having overseen such an effort would be unthinkable. The most telling part of this episode is that they’re not even really denying the wrongdoing. They’re ignoring the point or at least pleading ‘no contest’ and saying it’s okay.

Which is not O.K., even if you're a Republican.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 9:05 AM

Who cares about 8 useless lawyers getting fired? I'd like to see each and every Washington shyster lawyer lose his job and then get tarred, feathered and rode out of town on a rail. Would really go far in cleaning up this dungheap of a city.

What's being lost here is the issue of Democrats stealing votes and that nothing at all has been done about it.

The fired attorneys need to explain exactly why Democrat vote stealing efforts were ignored. How about an investigation into who might be paying off the attorneys? Does anyone seriously postulate that the fabulously corrupt Democrat Party would be above paying off federal attorneys, to look the other way as the Democrats manufacture phony votes?

The real story, as usual, is being lost by irrelevant trivialities. More lawyers need to be fired and it's likely if a proper investigation were done, lawyers along with Democrat politicians would be on trial and on their way to jail.

Posted by Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 9:45 AM


The only evidence that Scooter lied, is that he remembers a conversation differrently than a reporter remembers it.

The problem is that the reporters testimony regarding the conversation has differed over time as well.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 9:56 AM

The crass politicization of the U.S. DoJ by the Bush administration is now becoming glaringly apparent:

Prosecutor Says Bush Appointees Interfered With Tobacco Case
The leader of the Justice Department team that prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies said yesterday that Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government's racketeering case.
Sharon Y. Eubanks said Bush loyalists in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's office began micromanaging the team's strategy in the final weeks of the 2005 trial, to the detriment of the government's claim that the industry had conspired to lie to U.S. smokers.
She said a supervisor demanded that she and her trial team drop recommendations that tobacco executives be removed from their corporate positions as a possible penalty. He and two others instructed her to tell key witnesses to change their testimony. And they ordered Eubanks to read verbatim a closing argument they had rewritten for her, she said.
"The political people were pushing the buttons and ordering us to say what we said," Eubanks said. "And because of that, we failed to zealously represent the interests of the American public."
Eubanks, who served for 22 years as a lawyer at Justice, said three political appointees were responsible for the last-minute shifts in the government's tobacco case in June 2005: then-Associate Attorney General Robert D. McCallum, then-Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and Keisler's deputy at the time, Dan Meron.
News reports on the strategy changes at the time caused an uproar in Congress and sparked an inquiry by the Justice Department. Government witnesses said they had been asked to change testimony, and one expert withdrew from the case. Government lawyers also announced that they were scaling back a proposed penalty against the industry from $130 billion to $10 billion.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 11:36 AM

This just in:

Senate Committee Votes to Authorize Subpoenas for WH Officials
There you go. The Senate Judiciary Committee just voted to authorize the issuance of subpoenas for White House officials. As with the House committee, there's going to be one last round of negotiations before the committees pull the trigger.
And the two parties have a long way to go in those negotiations. Here, for instance, is Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy's (D-VT) characterization of the White House's offer for Karl Rove and other White House officials to testify behind closed doors, not under oath, and without a transcript: "What they are offering is nothing, nothing, nothing."

More than a few Republican Senators on the subcommittee voted "Aye", including, quite loudly, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). Looks like big trouble in River City, folks. Today is just the lull before the storm that's looming on the horizon for the White House.

Posted by viking01 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 12:38 PM

While I can understand why a Liberal poster would quote a source with "muckraker" in the name alongside sourcing the equally activist Washington Post forgive me if I pass gas upon reading their genuflections to leaky Patrick "Montgomery Burns" Leahy. The muckraker source may as well ask Biden or equivalent verbal klutz if he thinks Leahy is articulate and clean with his statements.

It should be noted (re: earlier post) regarding Fitzgerald's pathetic fishing expedition that activist / Hillary brown-noser Tim Russert is a lawyer as well as a reporter. That is relevant when considering the Libby's Nifonging hinged upon Russert's various contradicting claims about who knew what / said what after Armitage admitted spilling the beans about socialite Plame's domestic non-covert desk job. Next time when in DC on a visit to the restaurant media scene don't be surprised to see Tim Russert, Valerie Plame, and Joe Wilson sharing a cozy table. They're peas in a pod with the same political gotcha agendas. One is just as phony in claiming to be a reporter as another is in claiming to be 007.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 1:00 PM

Tony Snow this morning on ABC News:

The executive branch is under no compulsion to testify to Congress, because Congress in fact doesn't have oversight ability. So what we’ve said is we’re going to reach out to you – we’ll give you every communication between the White House, the Justice Department, the Congress, anybody on the outside, any kind of communication that would indicate any kind of activity outside, and at the same time, we’ll make available to you any of the officials you want to talk to …knowing full well that anything they said is still subject to legal scrutiny, and the members of Congress know that.

A constitutional scholar Tony Snow is not, as Congress has plenty of "oversight ability" over the government, including the Department of Justice. But I do sense some White House flop sweat emerging now with Snow's delcartion that the WH will now give "every communication" and make "any of the officials" available to Congress. Just please, please, please, please don't subpoena them and make them take an oath to swear to God to tell the truth on the record. Anything but that!

I wasn't born yesterday, and neither are the Democrats in Congress. The subpoenas will come if they have to, and there's nothing the White House can do to stop them from coming.

Posted by viking01 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 1:29 PM

Define "have to." Not born yesterday? Tuesday perhaps? Galactic Academy sure ain't what it used to be.

I guess ABC will have to do when the muckraker source will not! Let the conspiracy theorists overplay their hand again while they imagine no Constitutional protections exist for the executive branch.

Let the paranoid Left play this the same way they tried defunding the troops only weeks ago. Pelosi's singe-retardant underwear took a beating on that hasty move too.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 2:04 PM

Roll Call has an inside take on Senate Republicans considerable frustration with the White House lately:

For instance, before this week’s talk of subpoenas and resignations, Republican Senators were basking in their victory last week to prevent Democrats from winning a simple majority of support on their proposal to withdraw troops from Iraq.
“We are not throwing ourselves on the grenade for them anymore,” said the leadership staffer. “There’s now an attitude of ‘you created this mess, you’ve got to get yourself out of it.’”
One case in point, Republicans said, was Tuesday’s overwhelming Senate vote to limit the attorney general’s authority to appoint interim U.S. attorneys without Senate confirmation. The 94-2 vote underscored GOP dissatisfaction not only with the issue itself, but the way in which the White House has tried to manage what’s become a public relations nightmare, several GOP aides said.
“That vote was proof positive that ‘we’re carrying no more of your water,’” said yet another Senate Republican aide, adding: “We just hope they leave without doing any more damage.”

Which is doubtful, at best. But who knows? Perhaps Senate Republicans were born just yesterday... :-)

Posted by SwabJockey05 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 2:36 PM

viking: "Pelosi's singe-retardant underwear..." that statement had two different effects:

1. A most repugnant visual...I’m still quaking at the knees. ROFLOL.
2. Jealousy: Why do the congresscritters get all the good stuff? While they give us swabbies NOMEX flt suits…we’re still strappin’ on cotton whitey-tighties.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 3:00 PM

Kyle Sampson gets an invitation to come to Capitol Hill next Thursday from the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Senate Committee Asks to Hear from Gonzales Deputy
Mark it on the calendar. The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to hear from Kyle Sampson (aka "the fall guy"), Alberto Gonzales' recently resigned chief of staff, at an open hearing next Thursday.
In a letter sent today to Sampson's lawyer signed by committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and ranking member Arlen Specter (R-PA), the committee requested Sampson's "assurance" that he "will appear voluntarily at that time and that a subpoena will not be necessary." The committee has already voted to authorize such a subpoena last week.
Sampson will be the sole witness at the hearing.

Posted by Captain Ed [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 3:10 PM

SF Dude,

I don't think it's really appropriate for you to keep cross-posting articles from TPMM here. If you want to provide links, fine, but I'm more interested in your opinion than just a rebroadcast of Joshua Micah Marshall.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 3:18 PM

No problem Ed. I do however hope that people at least click on the links, instead of ignoring them and living in denial... :-)

Posted by viking01 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 4:41 PM

Denial is Clinton and Shrillary blaming Ken Starr for the famous blue dress.

Denial is Bubba blaming Chris Wallace for an eight year Oral Office vacation and the consequences in lower Manhattan where the World Trade Center used to be.

Denial is Dan Rather still calling his forged memos "fake but accurate."

Denial is Pelosi thinking that the defunding of our troops benefits the nation.

Denial is thinking GWB firing a handful somehow equates to Nixon firing Cox yet Slick firing 93 or Peanut Carter firing a few is something else entirely.

I agree that simply repeatedly posting links or talking points from JMM / muckraker or any obviously advocacy site as evidence for debate looks more like mooching free advertising for that website than appropriately buying a banner ad with one's own cash. Sorta like PBS begging me for cash because Big Bird's limo needs an oil change or those wistful NY Times subscription ads on FoxNews still hopeful that some out their have forgotten Pinch's Jayson Blair or those national security breaches he keeps publishing for Hamas or whomever. Maybe even for Obama bin that's Osama, Senator Kennedy.

Posted by ck [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 7:56 PM

You guys are seriously hilarious (if you weren't ruining much of what makes this country great in the process) -
NoDonkey thinks dems are stealing votes - Ever wonder why 2 cuyahoga county (cleveland) election workers tied to the republicans got convicted? Ever look into the 2000 vote? Wonder why Columbus voters in the inner city were stuck in lines for 8 hours in the rain on election day even though there were extra machines 20 minutes away (that were available but the request turned down by the republican SOS) - But yeah - Your big evidence is that a republican US Attorney who was put in office by another republican said there was no evidence of voter fraud in the 2004 washington state elections - Oh yeah - That's reasonable -

Guys - Just admit it - You will never trust a democrat (for whatever obscure reason you can come up with) and you will always trust republicans unless Rush or Hewitt tells you not to. That simple - Why don't you just admit it -

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 22, 2007 8:32 PM

Actually ck,

If you wanted to be intellectually honest about voter fraud issues; you would also acknowledge the abuse by Democrats... For a fair evaluation of this issue, read this.

Posted by The Yell [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 23, 2007 2:57 AM

so it's improper for a President to compel the DOJ to adopt his priorities? Poor poor DOJ, they've had a miserable century of impropriety

Coolidge and the "bootleggers"
Hoover and the "interstate bank robbers", FDR and "Axis infiltrators"
Truman and the "Commies",
Ike and the "Commies",
Kennedy and "labor racketeers",
Johnson and "voting rights",
Nixon and "employment discrimination",
Ford and "polluters",
Carter and "Soviet espionage",
Reagan and "organized crime",
Bush the Elder and "drug cartels",
Clinton and "domestic terrorism", and now Bush with "illegal immigration" and "global terrorism"

I mean, what to we have to do to get a guy like Harding who understands the propriety of letting the AG alone to handle the people's business? Sheesh!


Posted by The Yell [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 23, 2007 3:52 AM

"CNN's Ed Henry hit the nail on the head: if no conversations occurred with the president, and no advice was given, then how can the White House assert executive privilege, claiming the need to shield presidential advice?
Tony Snow's response: "That's an intriguing question.""

The same way a spouse, a priest, and an attorney can refuse to discuss what was said, or not said, in their privileged communications. It is the relationship that generates the shield, not the subject of conversation. If any. You can't even ask if there WAS a conversation, let alone ask what was said.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 23, 2007 8:36 AM

Since this discussion will soon disappear into the archives, it should be pointed out that since Karl Rove has already spoken in public and denied that politics had a role in the purge, the White House cannot now invoke executive privilege to prevent him from speaking about it under oath before Congress.