Democrats & Liberals Archives

Refusal to Testify - Hubris or Cover-up?

There are those who are trying to minimize the issue of the firing of the U.S. attorneys as political comedy, and no big deal. It is a very big deal when the Department of Justice becomes an arm of politics rather than an arm of justice. Gonzales has testified repeatedly that he “doesn’t know” or “can’t remember.”

Certainly a stonewalling technique. Bush then extended executive privilege to White House staff so they would not testify. Now the two highest ranked staffers subpoenaed have refused to even show up to testify before Congress. Is this just a flaunting of executive power, or is there a cover up?

Stacking the Department of Justice with political loyalists damages us all. That appears to be the purpose of the dismissal of U.S. prosecutors by Gonzales (who "doesn't remember" most of his tenure thus far). The fact that an administration that has huffed and puffed about politics from the court is doing everything within its power to politicize those very courts is beyond hypocritical. Of course, the side benefits of the strategic replacements are also self-serving.

While arguing that the President has every right to hire and fire U.S. Attorneys, the administration has acted as if their hand was caught in the cookie jar. After all, if they have done nothing wrong, then why not be completely open about the process? Isn't that what they tell us the citizenry about the loss of our privacy protections?

Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, and former Bush legal counsel and Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, were covered under an extension of executive privilege early in July. That executive privilege does not exempt them from a subpoena from the Judiciary Committee of Congress. They must show up, even if they decline to answer certain questions under the cover of executive privilege. To not show up at all signals contempt, even if the full Congress does not vote for contempt charges.

From the beginning of his tenure in 2000, George W. Bush and his administration have attempted to sculpt the office of the President under the principle of the "Unitary Executive." Essentially, this principle follows that the Executive Branch has all power without oversight or check. Clearly this is not what is laid out in the U.S. Constitution. However, it is the theory under which the Bush administration has operated even before the events of September 11, 2001. The current extension of executive privilege to an area where there is no legitimate reason for such protection is spitting in the face of Congress, the Constitution, and the people once again.

So is there something to hide here - as there is with "Scooter" Libby - or is this just a matter of "principle?" The "principle" being the complete disregard of Constitutional limits on the Executive Branch of government?

It is difficult to say whether the involvement of the White House in the politicizing of the Justice Department would look unseemly (if not illegal), or whether the refusal of the administration to openness and oversight is driving the current move. However, the "offers" made by the White House are typical. Bush has offered that the staff may be interviewed in private, off the record, and not under oath. You might remember that was the same path taken when Bush and Cheney agreed to meet with the 9/11 Commission instead of testifying publicly under oath.

Why are they so adverse to testifying under oath? Why do they keep offering these little "chats" to clear things up? Do they think that "we the people" are so stupid that we do not recognize the difference between legal testimony and a conversation behind closed doors? Do they think that we are so somnolent, that we don't realize the implications of political hacks in charge of enforcing the nation's laws? Even more to the point, do our elected representatives think that we are fooled by the political shenanigans being pulled?

This obfuscation needs to be stopped and stopped now. The Executive Branch needs to be brought back within Constitutional bounds now.

For those who are on the "conservative" side of the fence, this is not simply a partisan issue. Do you really want "liberals" operating under the powers and scope that George Bush has carved out for the Executive Branch of government? I don't. There must be a system of checks and balances or we are no longer the nation that we think we are. Instead, we are a dictatorship with a toothless Congress and Judiciary.

Posted by Rowan Wolf at July 26, 2007 10:40 PM
Comments
Comment #227496

Rowan,
Good article. And you finish with a great question, one I try to ask myself, when looking at highly charged partisan issues. Suppose the shoe is on the other foot? Would Republicans want to see Democrats with these kinds of powers left unchecked? Would Republicans want to see a unitary executive in the person of Hillary Clinton?

In terms of the big picture, it boils down to executive privilege versus congressional oversight.

Personally, I would prefer to see a transparent Executive Branch.

The danger of the Executive Branch becoming dictatorial is very real. Left unchecked, the conversion of the DOJ into a political arm of whoever is in power at the time has disastrous potential. Appointing attorneys who will only investigate the opposition & ignore wrongdoing by the appointing party, firing attorneys who refuse- it is a recipe for the complete politicization and, ultimately, the destruction of the legal system.

By the way, no one is even mentioning the invocation of executive privilege over the realease of documents relating to the death of Pat Tillman. The administration has released about 10,000 documents, basically newspaper clippings, and they are blocking the investigation. Somthing very, very ugly happened there. The death of that young man due to friendly fire is awful, but I think most people understand that it happens in the heat of the battle. So what is the administration hiding? Why would they even bother?

As for Gonzalez, anyone see his testimony on C-SPAN? Man oh man, that was ugly. The guy is a real embarrassment to the country and to his party. It is hard to believe he is the chief law enforcement officer of the the United States, the Attorney General. Just shameful.

Posted by: Phx8 at July 27, 2007 12:17 AM
Comment #227498

What scares me the most is Dubya’s “I’m the pres and I can do whatever I want” attitude. We are being governed by a spoiled little kid who is used to getting it all his way.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at July 27, 2007 12:26 AM
Comment #227499

Rowan — well said.
phx8, you too.
leatherankh, Bush is just the idiot puppet, Cheney is the Unitary Executive Hand.
Congress needs to Impeach this group of Lawless, Secretive, Power-Mad Liars.
Gonzales and Bush and Cheney have all got to go — and I’m tired of everyone acting as though that is somehow an outrageous thing to say, when it’s nothing but the obvious truth.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 27, 2007 12:42 AM
Comment #227505
Instead, we are a dictatorship with a toothless Congress and Judiciary.

Good point. Two signiture traits of a dictatorship are a toothless legislature and a judicial branch under the complete control of the executive. All Bush needs to do is declare a national emergency and cancel the elections to secure his power. Who’s going to stop him? Gonzales? Chief Justice Roberts?

Posted by: American Pundit at July 27, 2007 1:07 AM
Comment #227509

The cover-up is the answer, and the reason is because laws were broken, EEOC laws in the dismissal of these attorneys.

Having recognized this fact, after the broo ha ha, broke, covering it up, is the only avenue available to Gonzalez and Bush’s White House. This is WaterGate all over again.

I have said it is the little things that bring a President or other powerful persons down, by their own actions. The White House has broken many laws, but, the big ones, they planned and defended against. It’s these little events of law breaking they don’t even think to plan out and defend against.

Gonzalez’ testimony now also stands in direct contradiction to other officials attending Ashcroft in his hospital room regarding warrantless wiretapping. The illegal acts don’t bring powerful people down in our government, the little lies after the fact are.

Democrats in Congress are foolish in the extreme if they don’t seek impeachment of Gonzalez, Bush, and Cheney. Foolish from the long term point of view. In the short run, Democrats think it would be foolish politically with an election cycle underway. This is another example of politicians putting politics ahead of governance and Constitutional duty and responsibility.

Voting Out Incumbents is the only way to open the door to politicians who will choose to avoid the errors of their predecessors.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 27, 2007 1:36 AM
Comment #227510

AP, you forget one little detail. Our military would never stand for such an action, if the emergency were not genuine and dire. The CIC may be the head of the military, but, the Military takes the same oath to the Constitution as the CIC, and our military take that oath very seriously, willing to die to protect and defend it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 27, 2007 1:40 AM
Comment #227512

Rowan- I believe the only way out of this mess has
to begin with convincing the general population, that
as long as the Republicans continue to protect
George Bush, an their continuous filibustering, an
knowingly defend his blatant disregard for the rule
of law, there will be chaos until after the upcoming
elections. I am not confident that Republican voters
are patriots, in the general sense of their denial
of the true fact which have emerged over the years. A good example was when Arlan Specter gave
the Attorney General a good tongue lashing an the
next day, he refused to vote with the Democrats
to censure the Attorney General. All show an no go. An that’s the way it is(..)
/\


Posted by: -DAVID- at July 27, 2007 1:50 AM
Comment #227513

I doubt we have to worry about Bush cancelling the elections. He can’t wait to go back to Crawford for good. The rest of America can’t wait till he does either.

Posted by: kip152 at July 27, 2007 1:56 AM
Comment #227516

- I can’t Waite either, an I hope he takes all his cronies with him!
-

Posted by: -DAVID- at July 27, 2007 2:09 AM
Comment #227517

David R. Remer- I truly hope there will be an
Independent challenger running next year for
all available seats, I am weary over the incompetent
folks in Washington, at this time. They have all
been showing their arsses in the faces of the voters
for too long.

Posted by: -DAVID- at July 27, 2007 2:24 AM
Comment #227518

David R. Remer- What would happen if President Bush
were to attempt using his ten thousand or more
private military being employed now, to challenge
or attempt “martial law tactics.” I realize that is
a far fetched idea, although I do see sighs of going
in that direction, maybe a discussion for another
day.

Posted by: -DAVID- at July 27, 2007 2:47 AM
Comment #227523

Adrienne,

Oh, I’m all for impeaching the lot, and Cheney is indeed evil. But ya gotta admit, Dubya IS a brat. Can’t you just imagine him in nickerbockers and a little sailor hat throwing a temper tantrum? That very childishness is probably why Cheney pulls his strings so easy. He just gives him a sucker and pats him on the head to send him off to play so the growmups can rule the world in peace.

-david-

A Paramilitary coup? Even for a crazy leftie like me, thats a stretch. There are too many goofballs with guns in this country for that to ever happen. I will admit, though, that it is a creepy thought. Shades of Handmaid’s Tale.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at July 27, 2007 8:24 AM
Comment #227525

For me, there is a simple point to be made, and you made it well: why is the Bush Administration so paranoid about going on record, under oath concerning these things? At the end of the day, the Republicans should face just how hard it is to justify this kind of opacity on such a broad basis.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 27, 2007 9:15 AM
Comment #227531
AP, you forget one little detail. Our military would never stand for such an action, if the emergency were not genuine and dire.

And yet the military followed Bush’s order to invade Iraq to stop a WMD threat that was neither genuine nor dire…

Even Colon Powell clicked his heels and saluted.

David, I’m not saying I believe Bush will suspend the Constitution — but I didn’t think he’d ignore the Constitutional provisions against illegal search and seizure either.

Posted by: American Pundit at July 27, 2007 12:23 PM
Comment #227537

“Democrats in Congress are foolish in the extreme if they don’t seek impeachment of Gonzalez, Bush, and Cheney. Foolish from the long term point of view. In the short run, Democrats think it would be foolish politically with an election cycle underway.”

David R. Remer,

I agree totally. Even if impeachment were to fail as it did in the case of Bill Clinton it would still be a part of the public record forever! At this point I have lowered my sights however. I would even settle for Censure.

Something………anything……….please!

Posted by: KansasDem at July 27, 2007 12:49 PM
Comment #227542

AP said: “And yet the military followed Bush’s order to invade Iraq to stop a WMD threat that was neither genuine nor dire…”

But, our military didn’t know that at the time of the invasion, AP. Besides, invading another country doesn’t carry the same opposition for our military as an attack upon our own Constitution. Not by a long shot. They are trained to invade other countries and deal with threats from without IN DEFENSE of our Constitution. Whole other ball of wax.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 27, 2007 1:30 PM
Comment #227543

Kansas Dem, it may be that Democrats are, in fact, laying the groundwork for impeachment. From what I have seen on C-Span of the oversight hearings, that seems to be clearly the case. The big question is, once that groundwork is laid, will they have the consensus amongst themselves to actually “pull the trigger”.

I have some serious doubts. Having power, many will not let propriety, or doing what is right and just, run the risk of losing that power.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 27, 2007 1:36 PM
Comment #227544
A Paramilitary coup? Even for a crazy leftie like me, thats a stretch.

Ramming full passenger jets into the Pentagon and WTC were a stretch…

Posted by: Rachel at July 27, 2007 1:43 PM
Comment #227551

leatherankh- In one of the Presidents signing
he attempts to describes,”Since we are in a Global
War,” how he can declare Martial Law when ever he
feels the need. A bit strange to say the least,
since that would be Unconstitutional!

Posted by: -DAVID- at July 27, 2007 2:04 PM
Comment #227552

KD, DAVID, etc….I’ve been hoping, wishing, and yelling impeachment for a long time, and I agree that just maybe this stepping back and subtlety of movement is in preparation for a giant leap!
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/27/washington/27gonzales.html?_r=1&th=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&emc=th&adxnnlx=1185558046-GqVf4kMEC6RFMvFHO/Idkw
This is, or course, re:the testimony in direct oppositon to Gonzo’a script.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at July 27, 2007 2:05 PM
Comment #227554

By the way, in talking about this issue you cant leave out the hilarious Daily Show coverage that aired this week. Mommy, why is the lying man still in charge of the law? LOL

VIDEO - Daily Show / Gonzalez
http://beta.redlasso.com/Community/ClipPlayer.aspx?i=c77d717a-0e62-4f5e-be77-219ef330ba4f

Posted by: PaulD at July 27, 2007 2:14 PM
Comment #227561

phx8:
“By the way, no one is even mentioning the invocation of executive privilege over the realease of documents relating to the death of Pat Tillman. The administration has released about 10,000 documents, basically newspaper clippings, and they are blocking the investigation. Somthing very, very ugly happened there. The death of that young man due to friendly fire is awful, but I think most people understand that it happens in the heat of the battle. So what is the administration hiding? Why would they even bother?

Yeah. The new details that are coming out make it sound a lot less like accidental friendly fire, but more like intentional murder, with more than one army medical examiner claiming that the bullets were fired into him at extremely close range:
AP: New details on Tillman’s death
People in the Army sending congratulatory emails to each other about keeping investigators at bay? And now people are wondering it this cover up reached to the Pentagon and the Bush Administration. Jesus. Shades of Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame here too, because Pat Tillman was a pretty famous guy and a withering critic of this administration and their war in Iraq. In fact, Tillman once said of Iraq that: “This war is so fucking illegal.”
To think that he (or any one of our soldiers) could be purposefully murdered for voicing such an opinion makes me totally sick to my stomach.

David Remer:
“The White House has broken many laws, but, the big ones, they planned and defended against. It’s these little events of law breaking they don’t even think to plan out and defend against.”

Very good point here. It seems obvious that they never expected these firings for political reasons to become this kind of a national issue — and one which would bring out all kinds of questions touching on their other illegal activities.

AP:
“Two signiture traits of a dictatorship are a toothless legislature and a judicial branch under the complete control of the executive. All Bush needs to do is declare a national emergency and cancel the elections to secure his power. Who’s going to stop him? Gonzales? Chief Justice Roberts?”

But it’s not hopeless, because thanks to our founders, Congress still has one very sharp set of teeth: Impeachment. It’d cut right through all this garbage.

leatheranhk:
“But ya gotta admit, Dubya IS a brat.”

You’ll get no argument from me. I’ve been revolted by his immaturity and petulance for years.

“That very childishness is probably why Cheney pulls his strings so easy.”

Oh yeah, but I’m almost certain Cheney wishes they’d selected Jeb to act as his puppet, instead of W. Glaring incidences of bumbling idiocy would have been far fewer.

KD:
“Even if impeachment were to fail as it did in the case of Bill Clinton it would still be a part of the public record forever! At this point I have lowered my sights however. I would even settle for Censure.

Something………anything……….please!”

Right on, KD. I’m not lowering my sights, but I agree that something would be better than nothing.

Stephen:
“At the end of the day, the Republicans should face just how hard it is to justify this kind of opacity on such a broad basis.”

I think that many have, and that the rest may never, ever be able to. Much like there are still those who try to defend Nixon.

David Remer:
it may be that Democrats are, in fact, laying the groundwork for impeachment. From what I have seen on C-Span of the oversight hearings, that seems to be clearly the case. The big question is, once that groundwork is laid, will they have the consensus amongst themselves to actually “pull the trigger”.

I have some serious doubts. Having power, many will not let propriety, or doing what is right and just, run the risk of losing that power”

Yes, that is the big question, and I too have serious doubts. I wish I didn’t.

DAVID:
“In one of the Presidents signing
he attempts to describes,”Since we are in a Global
War,” how he can declare Martial Law when ever he
feels the need. A bit strange to say the least,
since that would be Unconstitutional!”

I wouldn’t put ANYTHING past this gang of thugs and scumbags, but they aren’t completely stupid enough to assume that the American people would just murmur quietly and be acquiescent, either. Which is why I think that if they did actually plan to do this, they’d very likely to try to use fear — even if that meant staging some sort of false flag terrorist attack.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 27, 2007 4:22 PM
Comment #227571

What we are witnessing folks is the slow and steady decline of an administration and republican legislature that is slowly unraveling at the seams. I have wondered why they would continue on with their corrupt agenda long after the people set an obvious mandate that they wish for corruption to be curtailed in government. I am starting to believe that they really have no options but to continue in their direction of sleaze oriented government because they have been aware all along that there was much more sleaze yet to be revealed after the initial problems of the last few years. Their best hope is to continue with their agenda in the hopes that all the controversy will pass over via voter apathy as a result of prolonged and tiresome investigations that seem to go nowhere fast. In other words the repubs are hoping that the voters will eventually see their persistence as proof that their intentions and agenda have always been on the up and up. Why else would they continue in this destructive direction if indeed the opposite were true? They are banking on the naivetés of the American public.

With all this said it is imperative that the dems continue with the investigations. I would be greatly disappointed if they were to discontinue at some point. I fully expect that all members of congress and the executive must at all times adhere to the rule of law and live by the principles this country was founded on.

How it can be that an idiot like Gonzalez can still be allowed to function as the chief lawmaker is beyond me. You and I would have been relieved of our duties under much less controversy until such time as that controversy could be cleared up. The same goes for Bush and Cheney. Like many of you I am beyond ready for impeachment proceedings.

Posted by: RickIL at July 27, 2007 6:49 PM
Comment #227579

RickL and whoever else may be interested…check this site out.
http://www.democrats.com/
I just think that we have to keep the pressure up on what needs to be done. We can’t afford to ease up on the representatives who are for this, and need to drag out the ones who are waffling about it.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at July 27, 2007 9:24 PM
Comment #227586

Rowan,

Good article. I wonder what grade GWB got in middle/high school civic and American history?

When you have a corrupt adminstration such as BUSHCO, you can’t expect them to creatively lie and get away with it before an entire panel of questioning members of Congress. No one in GWB’s house is that cleaver.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at July 27, 2007 10:20 PM
Comment #227595

The Republicans can only dream that the Democrats in Congress would be so foolish as to launch impeachment proceedings based on nothing more than political disagreements, unproven charges, and the far-left’s bitter frustration at not being to advance their agenda any other way.

Why does Nancy Pelosi say that “impeachment is off the table?” It’s because what ever else her political limitations are, she wants to maintain some chance of being Speaker for more than two years. Newt Gingrich flamed out this very way, and there were actually real underlying crimes being pursued there by actual courts of law (as opposed to only a couple Congressional committees controlled by the president’s enemies).

Impeachment would fail, and fail disasterously, making this Congress’s one accomplishment—in the total absence of legislative achievements—a failed and polarizing vindictive partisan witch hunt.

There’s absolutely zero chance of it getting a two-thirds vote in the Senate, and proceedings in the House would be nothing more than a political show trial with no basis whatsoever other than purely political disagreements, unproven innuendo, or condemnations of Bush for acting according to measures which were either already approved by Congress, the Supreme Court, or both.

High crimes and misdemeanors would need to be proven, and there is absolutely ZERO evidence of anything resembling anything of the kind. I know that many believe things like the Iraq war, executive privilege, the Patriot Act, and Wiretapping (all things passed by Congress, legimitized by the courts, or both) are “crimes.” But those are political disagreements, and there are political processes for resolving them (i.e, elections). I know that Democrats want to believe that disagreeing with them is a “crime,” but sorry, Charlie. Not in America.

Like Fitzmas, this is only going to end one way: in more frustration for the far left.

But hey, it’s been like a week now since the Democrats in Congress have staged a charade to distract the public from their inability to govern. By all means, it’s high time to get impeachment started!

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at July 27, 2007 10:58 PM
Comment #227614

I love it, what a left wing love fest the first 24 posts here are.

Stephen -
At the end of the day, the Republicans should face just how hard it is to justify this kind of opacity on such a broad basis.

Clinton fired EVERYONE that Bush senior put in there. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Talk about a broad basis. Liberonazis just don’t like the idea that Conservatives play the game just as good as they do. What a crock. The left hasn’t been able to get socialist legislation passed by any other means than through the bench for so long, that the threat of taking socialist judges off the bench makes you so mad you’re eyes cross and your brain shuts off.

When Clinton appointed the most left-wing, socialist Supreme Court Judge EVER, Ginsberg, she was appointed at the pleasure of the president, and Republicans weren’t happy but there was nothing even close to the ridiculous Witch Hunt that Samuel Alito went through.

The first 24 posts on this thread read like the transcript of a moveon.org rally after the punch bowl was spiked and drained, and everyones all out of beer. Get a grip. They serve at the pleasure of the president. PERIOD. Move on, you won’t win this one, and you shouldn’t.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at July 28, 2007 1:26 AM
Comment #227615

Yukon Jake,
Every administration, whether Dem or Rep, starts by placing their USAs in position. That is normal, and it gives an incoming administration a chance to impress their stamp upon law enforcement. However, it is extraordinary to replace those USAs once they are in position. Extraordinay. While USAs do in fact serve at the pleasure of the president, that does not provide a president license to obstruct justice. Firing a sitting USA for, say, refusing to prosecute Democrats when the evidence is insufficient; or prosecuting Republicans for wrongdoing; this politicizes the law, and undermines the integrity of the judicial system.

And that is what we have here.

Posted by: phx8 at July 28, 2007 2:06 AM
Comment #227617

I just watched NOW which focused on voter caging and did an interview with David Iglesias - one of the attorneys at the center of the cover up (Link to Now program/video). Underlying the dismissal of these attorneys was the issue of “voting fraud.” Which from most accounts had to do with the Republican party trying to disqualify Democrat voters.

Iglesias’ comments on what was going on is chilling, and he believes that there is illegal vote control documentation that is being withheld by the White House. This throws more light on the extension of executive privilege - among other things.

If you missed it, I recommend watching it.

David - I share your concern about the possibility of a coup. I do not think that the military would “revolt” and protect the country from such an overthrow - particularly if it was set up as being necessary. For example, another “attack” or threat thereof on the “Homeland.” The rank and file follow orders. That is their “job.” While a soldier may refuse an illegal order, a soldier may also be arrested or even shot for refusing an order. The administration has made a significant show of going after those who refuse to comply. I am sure that has not been lost on those who serve.

Posted by: rowan at July 28, 2007 2:19 AM
Comment #227619

Yukon Jake- (SMILE, IT can’t be all that bad.)
The top of this page lists as Democrats & Liberals
———————-(.^^.)—————————————


spinmeisters an Republicans—(*&*)—+LO—Page 2

Check the head lines out in the morning, You
will love it.

Posted by: -DAVID- at July 28, 2007 2:27 AM
Comment #227620

rowan- Thanks for the post an the link!

Posted by: -DAVID- at July 28, 2007 2:33 AM
Comment #227623

phx8,
That’s a very convenient kitchen pass for Clinton isn’t it. He was just lining up his USA’s at the start of his term. Never mind that many of them had cases and other things in the works, he just gets a TOTAL pass. What crockery. As if Justice that was “being done” by Bush senior’s USA’s at the time of their firing wasn’t justice - your argument is complete sophistry.

Interesting also, that you didn’t address the Witch hunt and attempted character assasination of Sam Alito, versus the muffled grumbling and unanimous approval that Republicans gave a woman who genuinely believes that your twelve year old daughter has the presence of mind and maturity to have an abortion without talking to you about it first, Oh and that we should also lower the age of consentual sex to 14. She is completely off the charts, and not a single significant peep from our boys.

You probably think I’m some big fan of Bush, I’m not, David can attest to that, but what Bush did with a few justices is nothing compared with the “obstruction of justice” that was wreaked by Clinton.

Republicans and Democrats are both rotten wings of the same sick bird. The whole system is screwed.

Republicans (possibly but I doubt it) are trying to make it hard for minorities to vote, while Democrats get voted in by illegal aliens and dead people.

The firing of this handful of USA’s is such a non-issue. You guys just can’t see how trivial and unimportant it is because all you can do is hate Bush.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at July 28, 2007 6:44 AM
Comment #227628

Yukon Jake, it is not a trivial issue. When those in government use the power of government for reelection and political purposes, it is a serious, very serious matter. It is a serious matter because such an act is expected of a dictator or politburo, but, not to be tolerated in a democratic republic.

The potential of a minority group seizing power through honest elections and holding power through transfer of office amongst their inner group by using the power of government to influence election outcomes is a blatant and enormous threat to our democratic election process which posits power in the hands of the people, not the government.

You are absolutely right when you assert that the Democrats motive for the amnesty bill was their political future in office based on 7 out of 10 hispanic immigrants becoming Democratic voters. It was an abominable act. But, the people spoke through intense communication with Representatives and the bill failed.

But, with the power of executive privilege to hide directives from political heads to the Justice Department to hire or fire US Prosecutors based on political decisions, is NOT the same as an open piece of legislation debated before the American public. It is far more sinister and out of the public’s awareness unless oversight can expose such acts.

That’s why these oversight hearings are immensely important. And they are important regardless of which foot the party shoe is on. If it was a Democratic President and a Republican Congress conducting these hearings, they would be just as valid and vital to our democratic republic.

The past is what it is. But, America has a situation ongoing in the current administration and it demands a response by the people and their representatives. And it demands transparency to determine IF the evidence fostering suspicions and contradictions is valid or not. If they are valid, then action must be taken to avert such a threat to our democratic republic now, and in the future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 28, 2007 9:19 AM
Comment #227634

Yukon Jake,

You don’t get it, do you? If Clinton got a kitchen pass (as you call it), then so did Bush II for firing Clinton’s appointees, and so did Reagan for firing Carter’s, and so on and so on and so on. Replacing US Attorneys is a common practice for incoming presidents, and they all do it. That is not the issue. The issue is why the Administration chose to possibly violate federal civil service law and replace several US Attorneys that it had put into place itself, based on their political loyalty, and why the chief law enforcement official in the United States has repeatedly lied to Congress about it.

Furthermore, the “Clinton started it” excuse sounds like something an eight year old would say. In fact, I quit letting my son get away with such a lame excuse when he was eight years old. Are you eight years old?

Posted by: ElliottBay at July 28, 2007 10:59 AM
Comment #227656

ElliotBay, not so fast. If US Attorneys are sworn to uphold and defend the law and Constitution, why are they political appointees at all?

By allowing Presidents to wholesale throw them all out to be replaced by those of a particular political persuasion, does this not lend an air of political agenda for the US Attorneys and the Justice Department as a whole? And if so, should it be this way?

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 28, 2007 1:51 PM
Comment #227675

Yukon Jack,
I read your first comment, but did not respond to the portions about Clinton & Alito because I did not think they were directly relevant to the current discussion.

Clinton appointed liberal judges, and they were quickly confirmed, because Clinton did a superb job of clearing his nominees with Congressional Rebpublicans before the process went public. Clinton worked with Congress. It is a classic example of great leadership and political skill.

Bush did well with Roberts, and that nomination sailed through Congress- and remember, that was for the position of Chief Justice. The second Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers, was a disaster. Liberals and Conservatives alike looked at that resume and shook their heads; there are literally thousands of nominees who were better qualified on paper. Harriet Miers confirmed everyone”s worset suspicions in her initial congressional interviews. Her main qualification seemed to be being “bestes friendseses” with President Bush. No one, and I mean no one was willing to put a poorly qualified political hack on the court.

The Alito confirmation moved in a timely manner. Democrats made the requisite noise in order to satisfy their base, but they did not stop the nomination. As Scottie observes with his article in the middle column, Senator Schumer felt “duped,” but the Senator knew what he was getting, and he is an idiot for pretending to be surprised.

It has already been pointed out that USAs are political appointments, and that it is standard operating procedure for an incoming administration to make new appointments. What is NOT ok is to go after the DOJ careerists. These are the people who provide continuity, hopefully without letting their party affiliations interere with the administration of justice.

This is another facet of the DOJ scandal. This area is where Monica Goodling took the Fifth. Her actions regarding the politicization of DOJ through hiring and screening practices was blatantly illegal, and getting all tearful and saying “I didn”t mean it” does not cut the mustard. But Monica was provided immunity, so that part of the scandal is done and over for now.

Posted by: phx8 at July 28, 2007 5:13 PM
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