Monday, March 26, 2007

This And That On The USA Eight

A couple of themes have been popping up today regarding the eight U.S. Attorneys fired by the Justice Department last December. First, it's that there clearly is no mention in these e-mails and letters of the folks who actually had the authority to fire these people. I mentioned that on Saturday. Andrew Cohen discussed it today:

On March 13th, as the temperature rose and the critics circled, Alberto R. Gonzales went on live television and said this: “But again, with respect to this whole process, like every CEO, I am ultimately accountable and responsible for what happens within the department. 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.” (Emphasis added).

He continued (and again I have added the emphasis): “I never saw documents. We never had a discussion about where things stood. What I knew was that there was ongoing effort that was led by Mr. Sampson, vetted through the Department of Justice, to ascertain where we could make improvements in U.S. attorney performances around the country.” As incredulous as some observers (like me) were to hear him say these things—what kind of leader wouldn’t know the details about such a delicate matter?—it is fair to say that the nation collectively agreed at the time to believe the Attorney General’s story, to give him the benefit of the doubt.

On Friday night, however, after the network news broadcasts had been completed and the cable lineups already set, the Justice Department disclosed that on November 27, 2006, just 10 days or so before seven of the eight federal prosecutors were fired, Gonzales and his deputies held a formal meeting to discuss the matter. There is an email record that indicates preparations for this meeting and all of the key players, including the Attorney General’s now-departed chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson and Gonzales’ likely-soon-to-be-departed deputy, Paul J. McNulty.

On Gonzales: Defining "Discussion"

So either Abu slept through the meeting, or he actually did know what was going on. If he didn't understand why it was happening he's more obtuse than most ten year-olds, but that's a presumption. Dan Froomkin, apparently, is guilty of that presumption as well:

Did that meeting not make an impression? Did he choose to lie about it? Was he secretly drawing a distinction between giving his approval and knowing anything about what he had given his approval for?

Who's Scripting Gonzales?

Here's shoephone's comment from Saturday's article:

Clearly the emails we see are keeping Abu out of the discussions, but I wonder about all the blackberry communications, going through a different server. And Rove is known to use a blackberry for almost all his communications...

Abu is expendable. The WH knows he won't ever betray the godfather, and anyway, his fingerprints are all over the torture and wiretapping operations. All roads lead to Rove. Just the fact that Rove's assistant, Glynda Becker, was the one fielding complaints from the WA State GOP about McKay and then Rove relayed those complaints directly to Abu and Miers. (And then -- not documented yet -- who did Miers talk to about it? POTUS.) And then POTUS talked about it with Abu. The phony voter fraud games are in Rove's blood. It goes way back.

Comment fron: Who Fired The USA Eight?

To say it's been a noticeable thing is an understatement. Yet, to read most editorialists in the national newspapers, you'd think this was all some kind of unfortunate misunderstanding. Scarecrow fills us in on the details.

Scarecrow's article also brings us to our second theme of the firings. It seems to have a whole lot more to do with a Republican desire to control the election process than it does with immigration.

The Justice Department/White House scandal is not about offending Republican Senators, though the Senator from New Mexico may well have flirted with obstruction of justice. And the scandal has little if anything to do with whether the dismissed attorneys were sufficiently focused on immigration, as Brooks hopes. This scandal is a thousand times more serious.

This scandal is about the White House effort to transform a portion of the Department of Justice into a criminal enterprise, a weapon to be wielded by Karl Rove, the White House’ senior political operative, to secure and maintain a Republican regime and ruling majority. Its tactics can’t be described as either “good” or “bad” political interference; they were criminal, because they included undermining the nation’s voting laws to selectively discourage Democratic voters, abusing prosecutorial discretion to intimidate or destroy Democratic officials and shielding Republican officials and Republican lobbyists and contributors from exposure for their corruption, all of which was linked via Abramoff/Cunningham type scandals to funding the Republican party.

The People’s Business

Last Friday (March 24), Lynn Allen wrote an article about the relationship between vote fraud and the purge:

Perry Hooper "won" that election eleven months later with the help of a tremendously sophisticated PR campaign, many appeals to different courts, including the federal courts, and heaven knows how much outright fraud.

If these tactics sound wildly familiar, there is a reason. Fast forward to 2004 and our Washington State gubernatorial election. The same tactics were used, undoubtedly by folks that Rove had either trained or was talking to every day or both. Except in Washington State, a Republican judge in Chelan country ran a fair trial and stated that the Republicans did not have a case. Then John McKay, the well-respected Republican-appointed federal prosecutor, who had conducted a thorough investigation of voter fraud in that election, refused to convene a federal grand jury because, as he said, "we never found any evidence of criminal conduct."

For his troubles, McKay was listed as insubordinate by the DoJ political handlers and placed on the list of federal prosecutors to be fired.

McKay in Context

My guess is that there's plenty more out there, but for now I have to stop and go do something else for a while. Hopefully, we'll be picking this up again tomorrow.

UPDATE: Mash, who is providing the host for the Gonzopedia, has an excellent article on the relationship between the Dusty Foggo/Duke Cunningham scandals and Carol Lam's firing. I mentioned this in passing in an earlier article, but Mash has laid out quite a detailed timeline of suspicious contract awards. Taylor Marsh pointed out an AP story about how Monica Goodling, Abu Gonzo's White House liason, intends to take the Fifth at the upcoming Senate Judiciary hearings.

"I have decided to follow my lawyer's advice and respectfully invoke my constitutional right," Monica Goodling, Gonzales' counsel and White House liaison, said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Gonzales aide to invoke Fifth Amendment

Maybe we can get Robert Gates to declare her a terrorist?

UPDATE 2 (March 27): Corrected the link to the Gonzopedia.

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