Every single day, some new information comes out about just how corrupt, mendacious and bone-chillingly evil this administration has been and continues to be. The Nixon administration--no group of boy scouts mind you--played fast and loose with the truth and perpetrated any number of "dirty tricks" but their behavior pales in comparison with the current bunch. Latest development happen in the Department of Justice, presided over by Alberto Gonzales who, to paraphrase Patrick Leahy (VT-D), doesn't realize he is no longer the president's personal lawyer and is responsible for defending the Constitution and not the money/power based machinations of the Bush administration.
Gonzales latest stomping of the Constitution becomes apparent during his testimony in front of the senate judiciary committee regarding the U.S. attorney firings. And it would seem the White House knew all about it. Big surprise.
I'll play fly on the wall as we listen to commentary on the matter by two readers here at DeepCon, Mary and Anne, a Dynamic Duo of epic proportions. Let's listen shall we?
Mary:I’m not surprised at all - it seemed the USAtty strategy had to come from the WH, with Abu the implementer. W had less than no respect for law and the lawyers he has dealt with have not been tough enough to smack him and make him show a little respect.Ahh, very satisfying to be a fly-on-the-wall with those two in the room. Thank you ladies.
Abu knew they didn’t have 93 candidates Bush would back who could make it through advice and consent. They’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel as it is.
Anne:This comes from Dana Perino, deputy press secretary:
“At no time were names added or subtracted by the White House,” Perino said. “We continue to believe that the decision to remove and replace U.S. attorneys who serve at the pleasure of the president was perfectly appropriate and within administration’s discretion. We stand by the Department of Justice’s assertion that they were removed for performance and managerial reasons.”
“At no time did any White House officials, including the president, direct the Department of Justice to take specific action against any individual U.S. attorney,” Perino said.
Now, I am confused. Did the president know what was going on? Did he know who he was appointing and who he was firing? I mean, I realize that he’s not going to micromanage the process, but what Perino is suggesting is that he just rubber-stamped whatever was coming out of DOJ. And what was coming out of DOJ looks like a combination of collusion with a political operative and their own successful effort to insert a provision in Patriot II to ensure that there would be no interference from Congress or the state congressional delegations in the process.
How can Gonzales possibly be allowed to continue as AG? Aside from the fact that Bush apparently only fires people if they are wearing orange jumpsuits.
Wonder if Lieberman would be considered for THAT job?
Mary:That’s part of what I have been saying. I do expect micromanaging on the decision to remove a USAtty. It is a big decision and by statute it falls ONLY to the Decider. Not the AG. So I’d like to have them hammer that a bit. A decision as important as removing USAs, where the statutory scheme contemplates that the President would be directly involved in any such decision - what happened? Did the President abdicate that important area of Decidering to someone else? If so, who, how, when and with what parameters? Did the President actually fulfill his statutory duty and make the decision and if so, why is everyone fibbing, ducking and dodging? If not, did the AG’s office run amok and usurp the President’s power under 541 to itself? If so, who made that decision, when, why etc.?
I think they could structure some nicely difficult questions. I also think McNulty and Moschella and Gonzales, all of whom - in light of Sampson’s new revelations appear to have been ‘less than’ forthcoming - need to be grilled about that. Did they know about Sampson’s info or not. If not, why not? Are they too incompetent to gather information for the hearings? Does Gonzales never get briefed by his Chief of Staff? etc.
I’m so glad that Leahy will be involved. He makes AG sweat.
My only commentary is at least after Abu G. (his rap name) gets fired, he won’t have to change any of his monograms on his prison costume.
Alberto Gonzales=Attorney General=Asshole Grande
For more up-to-the-minute info on the DoJ excesses check over at Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo.