Sunday, March 18, 2007

Leahy on US Attorney Firings: "I Want Subpoenas!"

In a refreshing change, a leading Democrat is showing some fighting spirit. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) is all but demanding that people like Karl Rove, Harriet Miers and a host of other Bush insiders be subpoenaed to testify about their roles in the mass firing of US attorneys. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:

WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Sunday he intends to subpoena White House officials involved in ousting federal prosecutors and is dismissing anything short of their testimony in public.

The Bush White House was expected to announce early this week whether it will let political strategist Karl Rove, former White House counsel Harriet Miers and other officials testify or will seek to assert executive privilege in preventing their appearance.

Of course these assholes will assert executive privilege. That's why Leahy is calling for subpoenas. And it is why EVERY Democrat, and every sensible Republican should be doing likewise.

The chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy
, D-Vt., last week delayed a vote on the subpoenas until Thursday as the president's counsel, Fred Fielding, sought to negotiate terms. But on Sunday, Leahy said he had not met Fielding nor was he particularly open to any compromises, such as a private briefing by the administration officials.

"I want testimony under oath. I am sick and tired of getting half-truths on this," Leahy said. "I do not believe in this, we'll have a private briefing for you where we'll tell you everything, and they don't."

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter
, the top Republican on the committee, said he had a long talk with Fielding on Friday and was reserving judgment. Specter said he would like to see Rove and Miers' open testimony because there were numerous precedents for it. "I want to see exactly what the White House response is," Specter said. "Maybe the White House will come back and say, 'We'll permit them to be interviewed and we'll give them all the records.'"

Yeah, and maybe Jessica Alba will become Mrs. Listerplus, or maybe the Red Sox will sign me to play center field for the upcoming season. Arlen, stop kidding us. Remember, we're still angry at you about that Magic Bullet bullshit you foisted on us so many years ago. Thanks, but don't try to help now.

At issue is the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, dismissals that Democrats say were politically motivated. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales initially had asserted the firings were performance-related and denied the White House played a role.

But e-mails released last week between the Justice Department and the White House contradicted that assertion and led to a public apology from Gonzales over the handling of the matter. The e-mails showed that Rove, as early as Jan. 6, 2005, questioned whether the U.S. attorneys should all be replaced at the start of Bush's second term, and to some degree worked with Miers and former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson to get some prosecutors dismissed.

Several Democrats and a few Republicans, including Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire, have called for Gonzales to resign, saying he had lost the support and confidence of Congress and the nation. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Senate Judiciary Committee had a deal with Sampson, Gonzales' former chief of staff, for him to testify voluntarily.

Sampson, who resigned last week, released a statement making clear that senior Justice officials were aware that the department and the White House "had been discussing the subject since the election" of 2004. Gonzales has said he was kept in the dark about the communications.

Really? The chief law enforcement officer of the United States was kept in the dark about this? Ordinarily I'd call "bullshit" on this assertion, but having seen the sloppy way this mis-administration conducts its affairs, this may be true. Aw, who am I kidding? Bullshit!

"The stories keep changing from so many people," Schumer said. "A good lawyer will tell you when the witnesses keep changing their stories, they're usually not telling the truth and they have something to hide."

Gee Chuck, ya think? Thanks for playing Mr. Stater of the Obvious...

Bud Cummins of Arkansas, one of the fired U.S. attorneys, said Gonzales should step down if it is proved that he was involved in the firings.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, cautioned against a "political witch hunt" and said Democrats "think Karl Rove is lurking behind every bush in Washington." But he said Gonzales needs to get his story straight — quickly.

Hey John, maybe Democrats think that because Karl Rove, in fact, DOES lurk behind every bush in Washington. And please, don't start that crap about political witch hunts when your party has led the way in that category.

Anyway, I'm glad to see some fire in Leahy. We already know that Bush will not let these people testify on their own, so the subpoena is a necessary measure to get these thugs to talk, so it is good to see Leahy realize this and begin to call for the appropriate actions.

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