March 24, 2007

Did Gonzales Lie About His Involvement?

The termination of eight federal prosecutors has been compared by supporters of the Bush administration to the abrupt dismissal of all 93 US Attorneys by Bill Clinton in 1993. Today, they may be comparing Alberto Gonzales' use of the word "involved" to Clinton's questioning of the definition of "is" after a memo shows that Gonzales had more connection with the termination process than he claimed:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales met with senior aides on Nov. 27 to review a plan to fire a group of U.S. attorneys, according to documents released last night, a disclosure that contradicts Gonzales's previous statement that he was not involved in "any discussions" about the dismissals.

Justice Department officials also announced last night that the department's inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility have launched a joint investigation into the firings, including an examination of whether any of the removals were improper and whether any Justice officials misled Congress about them.

The hour-long November meeting in the attorney general's conference room included Gonzales, Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty and four other senior Justice officials, including the Gonzales aide who coordinated the firings, then-Chief of Staff D. Kyle Sampson, records show.

Documents detailing the previously undisclosed meeting appear to conflict with remarks by Gonzales at a March 13 news conference in which he portrayed himself as a CEO who had delegated to Sampson responsibility for the particulars of firing eight U.S. attorneys.

"I was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on," Gonzales said.

Ah, the storied Friday afternoon document dump. It's an honored tradition in Washington, and it usually indicates that the dumper understands the political damage contained within the material. In this case, the dumpers have it right. Not only does this emphasize the fact that Gonzales and Justice have misled people on this issue, it also shows that the initial 18-day gap in documentation trumpeted by TPM Muckraker and critics of the administration actually had some significance after all.

Is there any other manner in which the Department of Justice can look any more untruthful and deceptive? Apparently so, because the Justice spokesperson now wants to argue about the meaning of the word "involved". Alberto Gonzales told the press on March 13 that he was "not involved in any discussions about what was going on" regarding the terminations. The description adopted by his supporters was that Gonzales acts as a CEO, delegating authority to his staffers and allowing them to act independently, Now we have Tasia Scolinos attempting to sell the notion that the definition of "not involved in any discussions" somehow includes attending the meeting where the decisions were made -- but not absorbing any of the details of the process.

Have we had enough yet? I understand the argument that if we allow the Democrats to bounce Gonzales, they'll just aim for more, but Gonzales made himself the target here with what looks like blatant deception. I don't think we do ourselves any good by defending the serially changing stories coming out of Gonzales' inept administration at Justice. One cannot support an Attorney General who misleads Congress, allows his staffers to mislead Congress, and deceives the American people, regardless of whether an R or a D follows his name or the majority control of Congress.

When the story broke about the NSA terrorist surveillance program, Bush did not hide behind a morphable definition of "is" or "involved". He stood at the podium and told the press that he damned well did order the surveillance program and that he broke no laws in doing so. In that manner, he turned the leak into a net positive, showing that he had the courage of his convictions and that he intended nothing more than the security of the nation.

Alberto Gonzales and his team has done the exact opposite, and have thrown gasoline on a fire -- no, not a fire, but a mere spark that would have been a two-day story otherwise. Gonzales needs to go.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg gets critical e-mail for saying that Gonzales lied. He allows that Gonzales may have been "deeply confused":

Okay, he may simply have been deeply, deeply, confused, out of touch and unprepared to give a press conference which was supposed to put an end to the "scandal" and instead poured gasoline on it at a time when his boss, the President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief, had vastly more important things to deal with. Maybe, just maybe, a good "CEO" would have asked his staff, "Hey, before I unequivocally tell the world I was out of the loop, let's double check and make sure I wasn't in the loop. Okay?"

Either he's been deceptive or incompetent. There really is no third choice.

UPDATE II: As good as the argument of "innocent until proven guilty" sounds, it doesn't apply here. I'm not arguing Gonzales commited a crime; I'm saying he's been deceptive and/or incompetent, neither of which is commendable in the nation's top law-enforcement officer. One doesn't need to be convicted to be fired, which the eight federal prosecutors could tell you from personal experience.

At this point, the notion that Bush has to retain Gonzales to protect himself and Republicans in general is starting to become absurd. Gonzales inflicted most of this damage on the administration himself, and the longer he remains, the more damage he will do. As Jonah said, it's hard to find a worse example of self-inflicted damage outside of circus tents.

Gonzales' dismissal/resignation would not do any more damage to Republicans than has already occurred. If we have to defend incompetents and/or deceivers as critical to the Republican cause, then be prepared for a disastrous 2008. Offering Clintonian word-parsing as a defense does nothing to help the cause of conservatism.

UPDATE III: Tom Maguire has had enough, too:

They don't know if they had a final target list on Nov 27, even though the plan had been sent over for White House approval on Nov 15?

Since a key part of the process meant to be managed by the White House (i.e., Karl Rove) was the politics of soothing the home-state Senators of the fired US Attorneys, how could the list sent to the White House have not included the final names?

And how could we be expected to believe that Harriet Miers and Gonzales' chief of staff came up with a list without Gonzales reviewing it at some point? Who is in charge?

And his aides can't remember if he approved it? Geez, as the old television broadcast used to say, due to technical difficulties the Invisible Man will not be seen tonight. And the Invisible Boss will not be heard from at DoJ.

He wants Gonzales to go, just for the ineptitude, if not for the deception.


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» I’m holding fire on on the newest “Gonzales Memo” from Macsmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
As I detailed last night, the newest ‘revelation’ that AG Gonzales has more ‘involvement’ than he previously acknowleded may not be all it appears. I may be wrong, but the story first broke on ABC and then to the Drudge Report ... [Read More]

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The implication of posts by both BrilliantatBreakfast and AtLargely is anger at the M.S.M.'s euphemisms when dealing with the latest document drop from the Department formerly known as Justice. They seem to prefer words like lie. Even guys on the [Read More]

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Comments (47)

Posted by Stormy70 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 8:58 AM

He should stay, and everyone who professes to be a Republican needs to quit trying to throw every administration official under the bus, all the time. This is a trumped up scandal, so why do we need to give the idiots in Congress another scalp?

Republicans are still the stupid party.

Posted by Lightwave [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 8:59 AM

Of course there's a third choice, Ed.

Bush allows Gonzales to stay because this issue was never about Gonzales to begin with. The congressional Dems' plan to Get Bush!(tm) by authorizing subpoenas for everyone NOT named Alberto Gonzales is proof enough of that.

By now America's well aware of the truth. This is all a fishing expedition to land Karl Rove in the hot seat. I understand the argument for Gonzales being replaced by a better "CEO of the Justice Department" but the second that happens we validate every moonbat theory the Dems have about the Bush administration.

The President made the right choice by telling Congress exactly how and under what circumstances this is going to proceed. If Congress doesn't accept the President's offer, then the responsibility of the Constitutional crisis is upon them, not the President. It's a fight they know Bush will take to SCOTUS and they have sided with Bush time and time again on the concept of the unitary executive in a time of war.

Perhaps Gonzales should have been replaced back when Rumsfeld was. But to replace him now is to acknowledge that the Dems' theories about this being a politically motivated obstruction of justice are correct.

I can see why Gonzales has to go. But to do so would be far more damaging to the President's position than to keep him on.

Posted by Right2thePoint [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 9:02 AM

From what I have read on other blogs, the take on this is that he did not select who or how many USA's to remove.

further they say this meeting was limited to approving a plan of how to notify people about the removals.

So the selections had been done by others and now this was only about how to get the news out.

So still he was not involved until the final step of the process but not involved with all the steps leading to that.

Posted by rr1954 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 9:02 AM

Captain Ed:
The caption of your post is "Did Gonzales lie about his involvment." You then proceed to declare he is lying. My own quarrel with you and Jonah is that you take a WaPo story for fact. I find that habit a bit too common for both you and Jonah. At least wait for the truth. Gonzales is inept but this non-scandal is not the reason he should go. Thanks.

Posted by TWood [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 9:13 AM

This administration has no credibility when it comes to disclosing the truth. They say one thing, the facts contradict. Which is why everyone involved should testify in public and under oath.

"... the concept of the unitary executive in a time of war."

Now that we are in a perpetual state of war the need to make sure that our system of checks and balances is robust is even more important than ever.

Posted by SoldiersMom [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 9:15 AM

Why is it only Republicans feel the need to sacrifice at the alter of corruption, not that I’m saying there was any corruption in this incident. Total and complete incompetence, yes, corruption, no.

Republicans never get credit for doing the right thing in these situations. In fact, it seems to work against us. I’m extremely indignant at the amount of corruption that the Democrats get away with; get away with being the key phrase here. Voters seem to reward their behavior. I don’t think it’s the so much the corruption they reward as much as it is their fighting spirit. If Democrats had been behind our efforts in the WOT, there wouldn’t be a terrorists left standing today. Instead, they’ve thrown all their efforts in with terrorists and Republicans don’t have the backbone to expose them.

I understand where you’re coming from Capt. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” But there’s another saying we need to remember - “Good guys finish last.”

Posted by Diffus [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 9:27 AM

Captain, go take a look at Daydd's take. I think we all could benefit from a little give-and-take between you two.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 9:31 AM

FWIW, whatever you may think about Josh Marshall's politics, his muckraking instincts are pretty darn good as there was indeed more to that 18-day gap in the first document dump after all.

Gonzales I think lied knowingly to Congress, which was of course stupid, but the lie came first, not afterwards. He's toast that's going to just get blacker and blacker the longer he remains Attorney General at this point.

I think it's also not going to stop at Gonzales now, as he merely O.K.'d the firing of the U.S. attorneys, and wasn't the "decider" in the matter. That role almost certainly belongs to Karl Rove, and I expect he's got some 'splaining to do under oath before Congress in the future.

Posted by The Yell [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 9:35 AM

"I knew my chief of staff was involved in the process of determining who were the weak performers where were the districts around the country where we could do better for the people in that district, and that's what I knew," Gonzales said last week. "But that is in essence what I knew about the process ; was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on. That's basically what I knew as the attorney general."

That is not "contradicted" by the new info, despite ABCNews summation

At that meeting, the attorney general and at least five top Justice Department officials discussed a five-step plan for carrying out the firings of the prosecutors, Gonzales' aides said late Friday.
There, Gonzales signed off on the plan, which was drafted by his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson...The five-step plan approved by Gonzales involved notifying Republican home-state senators of the impending dismissals, preparing for potential political upheaval, naming replacements and submitting them to the Senate for confirmation.

As the AG spokeman said:

" The attorney general has made clear that he charged Mr. Sampson with directing a plan to replace U.S. attorneys where for one reason or another the department believed that we could do better," Roehrkasse said. "He was not, however, involved at the levels of selecting the particular U.S. attorneys who would be replaced."

Once the process of choosing targets was done, AG Gonzales sat in. That is what he told Congress.

He did not "unequivocally" mislead Congress. You posted a truncated quote, Ed.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 9:44 AM

This is a story that travels dangerously close to the cliff. Mistakes can be detected by every single human working in government. Mis-quotes, mis-truths, propaganda; then there is flat out lying to save one's own butt, or an involvment in a cover-up.

Then there is an American tradition, a principle; "innocent until proven guilty". So far, I have not seen Mr. Gonzales proven guilty of a crime that would demand his resignation. It does appear that Mr. Gonzales has stumbled, while acting awkward and clumsy at times. Maybe we will find out that Mr. Gonzales is guilty of lying; maybe he is involved in a cover up. Maybe he is innocent of these accusations.

Most all of us have been involved in a scenario where we were convicted of a crime "contempt prior to investigation"... I make mistakes; I look awkward and clumsy at times; I was falsely accused of fraud by the state of California, where many from my community convicted me and slandered me for months, only to find out in the end that a fired employee had fabricated the entire scandal and is now facing very serious consequences.

If we are to get the best qualified humans to serve us in the future, we must demand a stop to these witch hunts. Both parties are guilty of this. We have the likes of Sandy Berger and William Jefferson walking free today, but yet we all know that crimes were committed. Is Mr. Gonzales innocent until proven guilty? We know some things; the old media and the Democrats want Republican blood, especially if it will lead them to Rove & Cheney; Democrats "personal assassination" techniques worked for them in the past; if a cop follows me long enough, I will make a mistake and he will write me a ticket...

President Bush stands firmly being Mr. Gonzales. I must assume that Bush knows much more than the WAPO, and all others involved in this witch hunt. This story will play out in time. In my view, Mr. Gonzales is innocent until proven guilty.

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 10:04 AM

The decision to fire the U.S. attorneys for "performace" reasons was intended as an excuse to cover up the real reason they were fired. From McClatchy yesterday:

The latest documents also raise new questions about how involved White House political operatives were in the decision to fire the prosecutors.
In a Dec. 3, 2006, e-mail released Friday night, Scott Jennings, one of presidential adviser Karl Rove's aides, asked Sampson if he had a list of "all vacant, or about-to-be vacant, US Attorney slots." Jennings' request came on a Sunday, so Sampson offered to send it to him the next day.
Jennings, a political operative, had earlier passed along complaints from Republican Party activists about U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, who was fired from his job in New Mexico. Some Republicans were angry that Iglesias hadn't been more aggressive in investigating Democrats.
The e-mails also show that administration officials struggled to find a way to justify the firings and considered citing immigration enforcement simply because three of the fired prosecutors were stationed near the border with Mexico. While the e-mails don't provide evidence of partisan motives for the firings, they seem to undercut the administration's explanation that the prosecutors were dismissed for poor performance.
"The one common link here is that three of them are along the southern border so you could make the connection that DOJ is unhappy with the immigration prosecution numbers in those districts," Tasia Scolinos, a senior public affairs specialist at the Justice Department, told Catherine Martin, a White House communications adviser, in an e-mail.
"Which ones are they?" Martin replied.
Scolinos was clearly unprepared for the furor that resulted from the dismissals.
"I think most of them will resign quietly - they don't get anything out of making it public," she told Martin. "I don't see it as being a national story - especially if it phases in over a few months."
Their e-mail exchange on Nov. 17, 2006, offered little hint of the firestorm that's now fueling talk of Gonzales' resignation and threatens a legal showdown between Congress and the White House.

Posted by The Yell [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 10:14 AM

The e-mails also show that administration officials struggled to find a way to justify the firings and considered citing immigration enforcement simply because three of the fired prosecutors were stationed near the border with Mexico.

Do the emails show how administration officials roped Diane Feinstein into going on record with a complaint on that very topic? I wouldn't have thought Team Bush had it in them...

Posted by SoldiersMom [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 10:21 AM

SFDude - Have you read Keemo's comment here?!!!

It would be much easier to believe you're indignation, if you'd show just a shred of the same towards the known and proven corruptions of the Democrats (Jefferson and Berger). Until then, you're exposing yourself as the partsian you are.

Posted by Rockfish [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 10:39 AM

Having helped many witnesses prepare for testimony in depositions and trials, here's what boggles my mind: Alberto Gonzales went off to tell Congress he wasn't involved in the decision without anyone checking his calendar to discover that he personally approved the decision at a meeting held in his own conference room. Assuming (charitably) that Gonzales just plumb forgot he had personally approved the unprecedented midterm dismissal of seven USAs in one day, it's inconceivable that no one "reminded" him of the contrary entry in his own calendar. The mind reels.

Posted by Brooklyn [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 10:45 AM

Well fiirst, are you sure you want to trust the Washington Post?

It seems human nature to have a conception, then seek basis to support the thought. But are critics of the Administration being too stubborn?

Have bloggers, or the NRO, ever made a big mistake?

The fine NRO for example, has been overwhelmed with cynical nature regarding the Bush Administration for some time now.

Such wonderful minds, who advocated for the Iraq invasion, actually produced an editorial after one year of the mission, basically saying 'whoops, this is going to be harder than we thought'.

Slowly, they adopted a mindset many right leaning minds did, to separate themselves from the Administration in a very weak manner, suggesting 'that the Iraqi Mission was managed poorly'.

It was the 'easy way out,' and many other folks began to embrace this form of excuse. Denying responsibility.

Instead of defending the policy, they prefered to suggest it was bungled. Like Mr. O on the Spin Zone.

Many of us, are surprised some of the best minds, have such little consideration, historical perspective, for the challenges involved.

Any admirable endeavor of such difficulty, in the heart of the troubled Arab Region, deserves some patience, objectivity, respect.

Regardless, cynics abandoned the Reagan Administration in the same manner during the Gipper's Second Term as well.

Sometimes, turning minor issues, mistakes, confusion, into larger themes of overt negativity. And many Conservative Elite pundits embraced a great deal of liberal spin in the MSM back then as well, to use to further their case of frustration with the Reagan efforts. All of this ended up empowering the Democrat Party.

We see the same thing happening today.

Cynics will always grow tired of the perceived institution.

A healthy cynical nature, is one of the reasons, the motive, for many who decide to create a living out of criticising others who actually do, or manage, or govern.

This is often positive for all, to improve and create sound policy.

But it doesn't mean critcism can be overt, obsessive, or lose sight of the larger context.

So today we grab on to the WAPO effort to keep a non-story alive...

It doesn't mean the AG has not made mistakes, or his staff hasn't either.

But this is nothing new for Washington.

Still, has this AG served well? He opposed closing Gitmo... Sounds good...

And in context?

As compared to Janet Reno?

Gonzales is very sound.

Now, Democrats are creating things to sink their opponents these days. Complete fabrications...

Are you certain this email is legit? Is this another Memo from Dan Rather?

The point remains, are Conservatives going to let those on their side become prey for this unethical political manipulation?

Haven't they realized they cannot separate themselves from the symbols of unethical political smears by the left?

As soon as AG Gonzales is gone, they are going for more, and maybe they will get to us all eventually.

The devastating impact of accepting or encouraging the criminalizing of Republicans could be profound.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 11:29 AM

As a democrat I come to this site because the Captain tells it like it is, even if it goes against his party.Some other conservatives on this site should use that as an example. So now were back to the meaning of the word,i.e. Clinton parsing. WOW. Or how about the "the democrats did it too" defense. You people are bending over backwards to defend Gonzalez. Would you do the same for a democratic AG? Didn't think so. But please,please keep defending him, beg him to stay, it just gives the story legs, like it really needs any. He's toast . Loyalty is okay to a point, the tipping point is long gone.the longer Al stays, the more damage he incurs. Only the kool-aid crowd is still in his corner.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 12:28 PM

The Washington Post reports on a newly released email showing that Alberto Gonzales attended a meeting with senior aides to review plans to fire U.S. attorneys. There's nothing wrong with attending such a meeting, of course; indeed, one would hope that Gonzales did review and discuss such plans. However, according to the Post, the email conflicts with a statement Gonzales made at a press conference about his involvement in this matter. According to the Post, Gonzales said "I was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on."

It can be argued, however, that the email is consistent with Gonzales' statement to the press. The argument is that the decision had already been made before the meeting Gonzales attended, and he was simply signing off at that time. So whether Gonzales misled the press depends on what actually happened at the meeting.

Where should this leave Gonzales? Certain offenses, if established, would require the president to fire Gonzales. They include lying under oath and obstructing justice. I haven't seen any evidence that Gonzales committed such an offense.

The questions then become (1) has the president lost confidence in Gonzales and (2) will firing Gonzales help the administration. I suspect the answer to the second question is "no." The Democratic Congress and its MSM allies aren't going to let go of this story. With Gonzales out, they would shift their attention to Karl Rove and to the particulars of the eight fired prosecutors and continue to blow smoke. Nor is firing Gonzales likely to change perceptions about Bush's competence -- judgments that are based on partisanship and/or six years of observation.

However, politics aside, Gonzales should not continue to serve if he lacks the president's confidence. I have no idea where Bush is on this, but my confidence in Gonzales, already shaky, would diminish if it turns out that Gonzales misrepresented his involvement in the firings to the press. As noted, though, it's not clear that Gonzales did this. (powerline)

Then there is this from AJ Stata:

For his incompetence in feeding the liberal media and Democrat PR machine and his clear surrender on the AG issue Charles Krauthammer should resign as being a voice supporting the GOP or conservative causes. Every fight is worth engaging with the Dems, especially these easy ones. The AG issue was a partisan creation for political gain, it was not the fault of the administration. Krauthammer is tired of the battle of ideals - so he should just quit. Don’t call on others to quit. We either stand up to the left or we step aside. Krauthammer has said we should step aside. I therefore call on him to take his own medicine. Enough with quitters. Political battles are inconvenient and draining. Get used to it. He has lost the will to fight, but the administration has not. You can guess where I am standing.

I think this is a situation where the tolerance level of Conservatives & Republicans is just about to run empty. Terrorists are using our freedoms and policies against us as a tool; Democrats and the old media are using our values and refusal to fight a dirty fight against us as a tool. Democrats and the old media were successful with the "personal assassination" game plan in 06. The attacks against our military; attacks against our faith; attacks against our treasured programs such as Boy Scouts; attacks against our elected leaders... Attack, attack, attack....

I, for one, am sick & tired of being a doormat.

Posted by TWood [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 12:41 PM

"Offering Clintonian word-parsing as a defense does nothing to help the cause of conservatism."

Which 'conservatism' are we talking about here?

The one that conflates religion and government, leading us down the path to an Islamic-like state under a slightly different God?

The one that pits Americans against each other in a culture war designed to 'get out the base' on a platform of fear and loathing?

The one that starts pre-emptive wars and then mires us in the resulting civil wars abroad?

The one that oversees the largest increase in the size of the federal government in history?

Or the one that plunges us deeper into debt while rewarding multi-national companies with huge tax breaks at the expense of the middle class that built America to begin with?

At this point, I truly don't understand why even Conservatives would want to defend this version of conservatism.

Posted by Proud Kaffir [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 12:57 PM

Sorry, Capt'N, but I believe you are sailing in the wrong ocean.

It is not Clintionesque to give the proper meaning to words. It is clear by the complete quote that Gonzalez meant that he delegated the decision as to who to replace to his chief of staff. Gonzalez was not involved in the discussions when the decisions were made but he never stated he was unaware of the process. In fact, he stated clearly he was aware the process was ongoing.

This new allegation is in the same vain as the media staing Rove ws "deeply involved" because an e-mail, not written by him, stated he inquired as to whether the Justice Dept. planned to retain all the attorneys, replace some, or replace all.

Hey, Capt'N, what are your future plans for this blog? I guess I an now "deeply involved" in the development of this blog site.

Pleae don't go for the MSM/ leftist defintions of scandal.

Posted by The Yell [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 1:07 PM

Since when is "he didn't do it" clintonian wordparsing?

If a man is a failure for the number of false accusations made against him, God save us from what we'll become.

Posted by Proud Kaffir [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 1:13 PM

I will agree with you in one regard, and most people regardless of political affiliation will probably agree:

Bush is a very poor administrator and most of the people he has placed in key positions have also been poor adminstrators. While he has at times expressed lofty and admirable goals, his poor management and poor personell decisions have undercut his ability to achieve any of these goals.

I could cite countless examples, from the Dubia port debacle, to Iraq, to the current attorney firings. Even though aware the firings might be controversial, the Administration still was caught flat-footed. In Iraq, they now admit to sendng too few troops and failing to prepare adequately for the occupation. Former Centcom commander Abizaid was a very poor general but it took a long time to replace him. I could go on and on.

This adminstration is dysfunctional, which has left government bureacratic agencies as extraordinaily dysfunctional, even by government standards.

Posted by theim2 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 1:16 PM


I'd rather take conservatism over the liberalism that thinks people are too stupid to take care of their own money after they retire.

I'd rather take it over the liberalism that cannot see the difference between wanting a prayer before a school football game and murdering 3,000 civilians in the name of Allah.

I'd rather take it over the liberalism that burns American soldiers in effigy while parroting the fact that "they support the troops."

I'd take it over the liberalism that treats grown men and women soldiers as children, too stupid to see they got tricked in Bush's War Machine, and not as grown adults.

I'd take it over the liberalism that forms its entire economic model on base jealousy, using class envy to "stick it to the rich" for no reason other than they have more stuff than you, which is like, so uncool.

And I'll take it over the liberalism that claims the mantle of progressivism while creating "hate speach" laws and supporting tyrannical regimes like Saddam Hussein's Iraq while slanding the US and Isreal, the only non-despotic regime in the Middle East.

Frankly, I can't imagine why even "progressive" liberals would want all this. But somehow they do, so there you go.

Posted by Rockfish [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 2:32 PM

I'm a newbie here, so I don't know if it's appropriate to laugh out loud at Keemo -- who for all I know may be considered a sage of the highest order -- but, Dude, seriously. Gonzales said he wasn't involved in the process, when in truth he signed off on the final decision in a meeting held in his own conference room -- as reflected on his own calendar. Do you really not see the problem here? Have you noticed that months after the decision was made they still haven't got their stories straight? Why do you think the administration doesn't want a transcript, even though they keep a transcript of Tony Snow's press conferences? Have you noticed that Tony Snow won't stake his credibility on anything DOJ tells him? Have you noticed that not a single elected Republican has risen to Gonzales' defense?

Maybe it's time to stop reading Powerline and AJ Strata and start thinking for yourself. That's what Captain Ed is doing. You should follow his example.

Posted by clarice [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 2:34 PM

Well, TM's regulars at JOM are not taken in as Tom may have been by a misstatement of what Gonzales said. He was not involved in the selection and recommendation process. I love Krauthammer but I think he is letting his views of Gonzales effect his judgment on this. And I love Capt Ed with all my heart, but once again I am afraid that his puncitilousness has allowed bad reporting to take him in.

Posted by Rockfish [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 2:41 PM

Um, Clarice, why doesn't signing off on the final decision constitute "involvement" in the "process"? Do you really think any sentient human who had been told what Gonzales said would conclude that Gonzales had been honest with them? And by the way, who here actually believed Gonzales wasn't "involved" in the "process" by which his department fired more USAs in one day than had been dismissed midterm in the prior 25 years? Who's in charge at DOJ anyway?

Posted by OldDeadMeat [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 3:46 PM

OK, everyone please - forget about Ds & Rs, liberals v. conservative.

Is it unreasonable for the American public to expect the AG at a minimum, get his story straight?

Is it unreasonable for Congress, no matter who controls it, to get honest answers to questions?

Do we want to encourage deception by omission?

"I did not have sex with that woman" - it was accurate in the sense that intercouse didn't occur.

But truthful, no. Accuracy with the intent to deceive.

Gonzales said last week: "But that is in essence what I knew about the process; was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on. That's basically what I knew as the attorney general."

Based on what keeps coming out, we can't even say for sure it was accurate.

Somehow, I think if it was, the story wouldn't keep changing - first they were all underperformers (why them and not others?), then Miers did it. What next?

But even if his statement was accurate, how truthful was it? Was it also told with the intent to deceive? In what possible sense should we take this?

For goodness sake, do we want lawyers attending every briefing, every press conference, cross-examining every statement anyone makes?

At some point, democracy will fail if we expect everyone in gov't is automatically lying. By his conduct of this affair, the AG is certainly encouraging that assumption.

Isn't it time to stand up for honesty?

Sometimes gov't may have to deceive the public, to withhold information (for nat'l security level issues). But not routinely, not whenever it's convenient, and not just because it's embarrassing politically or because Congress is controlled by the other party.

If the GOP wants to claim its positions have some basis in morality, AG needs to offer up his resignation now.

GWB didn't this headache, and the nation didn't need this distraction. Only the Dems are benefiting, by distracting us all from their own failures.

Morality starts with integrity. Do we want GWB to handle things the way a Clinton would?

Posted by Labamigo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 3:55 PM

This is the path things inevitably take when you have a spineless president who is afraid to stand up to the other party.

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 4:52 PM

I am not sure if anyone has posted this but I saw it at JOM and the Corner:

.and I know we don't have all the facts. But based on what has been reported, it seems to me that this morning's headlines could just have easily been "New documents verify Gonzales' claims." For example:

Reporting shows that the final plan was sent to the WH for review 12 days before the meeting where it was presented to Gonzales, the meeting that everyone claims is a smoking gun. In other words, the plan was not in development at the time of the Nov. 27 meeting, it was complete and tied up with a bow nearly two weeks earlier.

This meeting, according to printed reports, was about a rollout of a plan that had already been completed, and an opportunity for the AG to review and sign off on something that had already been developed.

According to the AP, "There are no other meetings on the calendar pages released between that Nov. 27 and Dec. 7, when the attorneys were fired, to indicate Gonzales participated in other discussions on the matter, Justice spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos said."

In other words, all available reporting actually backs up the AG's claim that he delegated this effort to senior DOJ officials, that those officials created a proposal and plan, and only when they were done did they bring it to the AG for approval. That is completely consistent with what the AG said on March 13 in his press avail.

So while I agree that this has not been handled well from the start, I don't agree that hanging the AG based on a Post article that is misreporting the facts is ever a good idea.

I like the Captain, but after watching conservatives have a fit over the Dubai part deal and Harriet Miers, it would be nice if every now and then center right bloggers did not feel the need to attack the administration in an effort to look even handed or whatever. The Democrats are quite capabe of attacking without the help of folks like Ed.

Posted by Mr Lynn [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 5:28 PM

Captain, do you realize what's happening? You and others are falling right into the Democrats' trap, arguing over timelines, e-mails, the meaning of 'involved in the process', etc., etc. That's what they want--to get us bogged down in accusations and trivia, and to impugn the entire administration, keeping it on the defensive.

President Bush is right to say he will ignore subpoenas.

It doesn't matter whether the White House was involved in the firings.. Atty. Gen. Gonzales may not be a good manager, but that's a separate issue. These are political appointees who can be fired for any reason whatsoever, including this reason: The White House wants them gone.

Giving the Congress and the press all those documents was a mistake of the first order. It should not be continued, nor repeated. And Gonzales should stay.

/Mr Lynn

Posted by The Yell [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 5:59 PM

"At some point, democracy will fail if we expect everyone in gov't is automatically lying. By his conduct of this affair, the AG is certainly encouraging that assumption."

The AG isn't out there continually changing his story.

It's the press and the Democrats insisting that this email, or that fmr Atty account of their own career, or this phone call, must be interpreted as undermining what the AG said a week or a month ago.

You don't have to agree with them.

And you don't have to blame the AG for their bad faith and calumny.

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 6:00 PM


Gonzales did not say he was not aware of the firings, he said was not involved in the process. I think Daffyd at Big Lizards puts it well:

Any ordinary person, when asked if he was involved in discussions about firing the attorneys, would understand the question to mean, "Did you participate in discussions about which attorneys -- if any -- to fire?" And he would honestly say "No, I did not."

Nobody but a Democrat in full cry to find something, anything, to justify more scandalmongering would imagine that the original question would also include any ancillary discussions about the best way to break the news to the press!

Here is the analogy:

You order your subordinate Chris to go out and buy some new computers for your department; it's up to Chris how many and what kind, and who gets which computer.

Later, Chris has a meeting with you and a couple of guys from CIS, and you have a lively discussion about setting up whatever computers Chris decides to buy. The big question: Should you pay extra to have the CIS technicians set them up over the weekend, or should you have them set up during weekdays, potentially disrupting people's work. You do not discuss what Chris plans to buy.

Later, someone asks you, "Were you involved in any discussions about purchasing those eighteen Sun micros that Chris ultimately decided on?" And you say, "No, I was not involved in any such discussions. I left it entirely up to Chris."

Then the VP of your corporate rival finds out about the meeting to discuss whether they would be installed on the weekend or weekdays... and he calls a press conference to denounce you as a notorious liar and demands you be ousted from your company.

This isn't even as solid as clutching at straws; the Democrats are clutching at strands of gossamer.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 6:05 PM

Maybe it's time to stop reading Powerline and AJ Strata and start thinking for yourself. That's what Captain Ed is doing. You should follow his example.
Posted by Rockfish at March 24, 2007 02:32 PM

Yep, you are a newbie....

Mr. Lynn is "dead on target" with his take on this topic. Playing into the hands of the people that would love nothing more than to see Conservatism flushed down the toilet for eternity. The trolls are happy; they have their feast for the day.

This is the what, 5th or 6th thread on this topic in the past week & a half? Limbaugh, Hannity, Elder, and many others from the talk radio world have called this very similar to that of Mr. Lynn. Some from the beltway have called it the same way as CE.

CE calls em like he see's em. CE is a gracious host and I have the utmost respect. I don't always agree with CE; but I do always appreciate the forum.

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 6:22 PM

And you know what else?

I think it is unfair to call the administration dysfunctional or whatever. No administration or company or anything else can operate under this kind of hypercriticism. Imagine, once upon a time not so long ago there were no emails to read and reread.

I don't think it would matter who was running the government, people would find something to bitch about and then it would hit the internet and go around and around and bloggers thinking they are more important than they are would be talking about whether or not they have had enough.

Well if you have had enough, stop making an issue of it.

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 6:33 PM


I am thinking for myself. I was thinking for myself when I thought the Right was wrong on immigration, wrong to treat Harriet Miers like white trash and stupid to go ape over Dubai. Time and again Democrats lay these traps and time and again Republicans walk into them.

BTW, I find it possible that Gonzales told his man to handle it and then did not attend to any details after that. That sort of thing happens in big corporations all the time as well. I think it is far more likely that Gonzales is telling the truth than it is that Berger is telling the truth...but which one of them gets more outraged press? The AG who was involved in the legal firing of US Attorneys or the man who stole and destroyed classified intel from the National Archives? I am thinking for myself enough to notice a pattern here.

Posted by r [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 6:43 PM

If I were to be objective, I think Gonzales deliberately lied, and I think that the DOJ staff are deliberately lying about not being able to recall if Gonzales gave an opinion/heard the details/whatever in that 1 hour meeting.

Look what Josh Marshall posted:
"Many of you have probably already seen this, but I just want to flag it for future reference:

The Justice Department also said yesterday that Monica Goodling, a senior counselor to Gonzales who worked closely with Sampson on the firings, took an indefinite personal leave from her job on Monday. A Justice official said that she is still employed there but that it is not clear when she will return.

Goodling was the DOJ liaison to the White House."

Ouch. The DOJ not only looks pitifully guilty of lying, but they are laughably incompetent at spin. Why can't Rove help them out? He's a genius.

Look, I'm not objective. I am a Republican, and I think that if it were a Dem AG in this spot, I'd want their hide. But this is a (R) we're talking about here, folks, and we're at war. Old school conservatism was about checks and balances and small govt, and we dont' believe in that approach any more, it just doesn't work. Bush has the unlimited right to hire and fire, period. Focus on that, it's the key.

We are losing our grip on the US govt and we need to keep the party of abortion from defeat from putting us under a microscope and bringing the whole effort to a screeching halt before Bush's term is up.

I think the best thing we can do is to support our troops right now - and let us not forget that the Commander in Chief is one of the troops, too. Gonzales has been a loyal soldier, and you should all be too. The true measure of loyalty is when it's hard, not easy.

No matter what trivial good may come from insisting on some misplaced commitment to the truth, we need to realize that telling the truth may cost American lives and our (not trying to be so melodramatic) ultimate safety as a country.

A minor scandal with minor fibbing. So what?

Support the troops. If you want to phrase it as innocent until guilty, that sounds smart to me. Or if you prefer to parse DOJ's or Snow's verbiage, that's fine too. Remember the big picture, not the little one. That's for the other side.


Posted by Rockfish [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 7:56 PM


Gonzales plainly did "participate in discussions about which attorneys -- if any -- to fire." He specifically approved the plan to fire the USAs who were, in fact, actually fired. This is not a complicated point, however confusing Daffyd may affect to find it. Instead of quoting others who embarrass themselves defending the indefensible, perhaps you could simply explain how the Attorney General could fail to be "involved" in the "process" that terminated DOJ employees, even though he signed off on the dismissals during a meeting he led in his own conference room.

If you read the emails, you'll see that everyone "involved" in the "process" understood that the dismissals would ignite a political firestorm. Unlike the administration's defenders, they knew what they were doing was unprecedented -- Kyle Sampson expressly laid that out in his widely quoted memorandum. They knew this would provoke a political firestorm, and they waited to pull the trigger until they were sure they had buy-in from the White House.

If this unprecedented "process" could somehow occur without the AG's "involvement", then who exactly is running this show? If you think things would conceivably work this way in a major corporation then you have no experience with large organizations.

Finally, Gonzales is still just a fall guy (like Scooter Libby). This is not an administration full of madcap freelancers. It's inconceivable that midlevel DOJ troglodytes would have done this on their own, and the emails make clear that wasn't so.

Reasonable people could disagree about what conclusions to draw, but let's not be children about this. These USAs weren't fired as a result of some Immaculate Conception. It's a very human "process" in which all the obvious participants were plainly "involved".

Posted by Dale in Atlanta [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 8:06 PM

Yep; screw 'em; I'm tired of it now too!

I've had enough.

I've defended the Administration endlessly, everywhere, against the Anti-American, Pro-Jihadi Leftist nutbags that are the Democratic Party now, and they don't deserve it anymore.

Gonzales needs to go, and anyone else, that does this stupid crap; they go too!

I will point out there is a difference, however:

a) the Bush Administration is well-meaning, but incompetent!

b) the Clinton Administration (who I voted for, by the way!); was evil intentioned, and the Second most Corrupt Administration in History (after the Regean Administration)!

Give me incompetent, over Evil and Corrupt, any day...

Sad, we're forced to make that choice, isn't it?

Posted by Rockfish [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 8:09 PM


When I suggested that you think for yourself, I didn't mean that you should refer me to Mr. Lynn instead of Powerline or AJ Strata.

Posted by Rockfish [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 8:17 PM


I don't agree that "No administration or company or anything else can operate under this kind of hypercriticism." To the contrary, I think this administration got flabby during the six years in which it had no oversight at all. It wasn't a good thing that Republicans hauled Bill Clinton's aides in to testify 47 times, but they at least knew that this Keystone Cops stuff wouldn't get it done. maybe at some point we'll find a happy medium.

Posted by Lightwave [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 8:28 PM

And finally in the end, with the President firmly behind the AG we have to all keep in mind that in a world where the Democrats were sane, there would be some wiggle room to dismiss the AG.

But this is a party that just voted to authorize surrender to the enemy.

You cannot rationally deal with the Democrats anymore. They have only one goal in life: Get Bush!(tm). That is all that matters. The ends justify the means for them. The Dems will never approve Bush's selection to replace Gonzales. They will stonewall and filibuster and do whatever it takes to make Bush look bad. There is no depth they will not stoop to.

Therefore, doing the rational course of action is a moot point. Gonzales may be a political knucklehead. He may even be incompetent. But the President and his advisers understand that if Gonzales leaves, the Dems win the argument. Every moonbat theory the Dems have presented in the last three weeks becomes gospel truth if Gonzales leaves.

But if the President sticks it out like he is doing, he changes the frame of the debate to the Democrats' crazy response to the issue. In the end the Democrats will have to put their cards on the table that the AG really DID do something illegal besides look like a buffoon. And when they don't have that, they lose.

Give the Dems enough rope to hang themselves.


Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 10:06 PM


No one, including Gonzales, ever said that he was unware of the fact that US Attorneys would be fired, in fact they knew there would be political repercussions.

The point is that there has been no crime here. The Bush administration had every right to fire these people and the AG knew that as well.

But that does not mean that Gonzales was involved in all the discussions or planning or details of the firings. He may well have delegated too much authority, but all in all this is a useless silly stupid nonscandal that should never have been an issue.

This has created more problems for Bush than Clinton had to deal with when the US Attorney investigating Whitewater was fired.

I just think it is overblown.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 11:43 PM


What gave you the indication I cared one lick about what you might suggest? Are you another one of those "legends in your mind", or do simply think you have something of value to add to this debate? Let's see now, is this debate number 5 or is it number 6 on this subject...

Oh great; another smart ass elitist Liberal Troll. Where do they all come from...

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 11:59 PM

The hypocrisy that this issue has drawn out from the right wing is amazing. I can only hope you're not that deluded, but suspect it's pathological by now.

At the same time, many conservatives have distinguished themselves by calling a spade a spade and wincing at this debacle.

And Terrye, when you refer defiantly to

The AG who was involved in the legal firing of US Attorneys

you see, that's kind of the point, courtesy of Gonzales' statements, e.g. that

But that is in essence what I knew about the process; was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on.

Are you starting to see it now? No? Oh well...

Posted by Rockfish [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 12:07 AM


You shouldn't care what I think. It might trouble you, however, that

Posted by Rockfish [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 12:13 AM

A "smart ass elitist Liberal Troll" left you without anything to say on the merits.

Posted by Rockfish [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 12:13 AM

A "smart ass elitist Liberal Troll" left you without anything to say on the merits.