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White House Behind US Attorney Dismissals
March 13, 2007 6:01 AM   Subscribe

The dismissals took place after President Bush told Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in October that he had received complaints that some prosecutors had not energetically pursued voter-fraud investigations...
Sampson sent an e-mail to Miers in March 2005 that ranked all 93 U.S. attorneys. Strong performers "exhibited loyalty" to the administration; low performers were "weak U.S. attorneys who have been ineffectual managers and prosecutors, chafed against Administration initiatives, etc." A third group merited no opinion.
White House Said to Prompt Firing of Prosecutors (NYTimes) - Firings Had Genesis in White House (WashPost) [via]
posted by empath (105 comments total)

 


Personally, I think its nuts that after the wiretapping, mismanagement of the FBI, justifications for torture, etc that Gonzales is responsible for -- that what's finally going to force out this criminal is firing 9 Republicans lawyers.
posted by empath at 6:10 AM on March 13, 2007


Personally, I think it's nuts that after it was known there were no WMDs in Iraq, the entire administration didn't resign in disgrace.
posted by DU at 6:13 AM on March 13, 2007


what's finally going to force out this criminal is firing 9 Republicans lawyers

We'll finally get rid of a right-wing activist Supreme Court?

As a recent NYTimes op-ed put it, the best way to describe Gonzales is as consigliere of a wildly corrupt and violent crime family.

He needs to be fired because he has demonstrated he focuses his energies on managing the Family's criminal interests, with complete disregard for defending the Constitution.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:19 AM on March 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, if you can't bring Capone down for any other reason, get him for tax evasion.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:20 AM on March 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


I really don't see the problem here. It's not like any of these people got blowjobs from an intern.
posted by localroger at 6:22 AM on March 13, 2007 [5 favorites]


White House Counsel Harriet Miers proposed firing all 93 U.S. attorneys.

Miers raised with an aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales the prospect of asking all chief federal district prosecutors to resign in 2004 as a logical way to start a new term with a new slate of U.S. attorneys.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 6:24 AM on March 13, 2007


But the documents and interviews indicate that the idea for the firings originated at least two years ago, when then-White House counsel Harriet E. Miers suggested to Sampson in February 2005 that all prosecutors be dismissed and replaced.

And this less than a year before her nomination to the Supreme Court. There's one thing you've got to give these people; they have a collective set of brass balls the size of Jupiter.
posted by The Straightener at 6:26 AM on March 13, 2007


empath, if you don't watch out y2karl will sue you for violating his trademark posting format.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:27 AM on March 13, 2007


The Bush White House is made up of bullying thugs.

Film at eleven.
posted by GavinR at 6:30 AM on March 13, 2007


Ashcroft may have been a collossal prick, but at least he seemed somewhat competent. Gonzo is just a frickin' stooge.
posted by psmealey at 6:31 AM on March 13, 2007


Personally, I viewed it as a tribute to y2k. As in, this is a "serious world effect" post.

I had read most of this already, but the new Miers 2004 'clean slate' spin makes my eyes rotate even faster then 200 RPM.
posted by cavalier at 6:32 AM on March 13, 2007


I like y2karl's posting format. That's why I stole it.
posted by empath at 6:34 AM on March 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


A timeline of Events leading to the firing of prosecutors.
posted by empath at 6:38 AM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


You missed the money line in that quote about rankings:

"Only three of those eventually fired were given low rankings:"
posted by smackfu at 6:38 AM on March 13, 2007


White House Counsel Harriet Miers proposed firing all 93 U.S. attorneys.

My boss wanted an 8 page memo but I gave him a 93 page memo because I JUST LOVE MY BOSS *swoon*
posted by Saucy Intruder at 6:42 AM on March 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


As a recent NYTimes op-ed put it, the best way to describe Gonzales is as consigliere of a wildly corrupt and violent crime family.

He needs to be fired because he has demonstrated he focuses his energies on managing the Family's criminal interests, with complete disregard for defending the Constitution.


Exactly, and it is this way with the entire administration. Consolidating their own power trumps any duty to country or constitution with these guys. They are perhaps the most unpatriotic administration ever.
posted by caddis at 6:45 AM on March 13, 2007


And one of those three was Carol Lam-- The Cunningham prosecutor.

Iglesias was NOT on the list of those with low rankings.
posted by empath at 6:46 AM on March 13, 2007


There's something to contemplate here - since the 1980s (or earlier) the Justice Department was where conservatives went, since they're beholden to the Executive Branch and not accountable to the electorate. Anton Scalia, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and scores of others have been through there. In one way, all policy is shaped and interpreted by Justice, and it's full of the partisan right, not the fiscal conservtive, socially liberal (mythological moderate) that we all know and love.

The timeline here seems to focus on this Griffiths fellow, a lackey of Rove's, and his involvement in the "caging list" fiasco (I'll come up with a non-self link).

The gist is that the Republicans would shriek about voter fraud (as they always do), and then in select areas (Ohio, Florida) have mechanisms in place to act on it. The mechanism was political materials sent to people at their non-residences that was returned as non-deliverable. These "bad" contacts are then put in a "caging list" where they are dropped from the database. These people were disproportionatley minorities, and significant numbers of the names were recorded as living on military bases and homeless shelters. Griffiths was included in the distro on the original emails mistakenly sent to georgewbush.ORG. He was on the short list to replace one of the fired attorneys before he resigned, presumably over the caging list.

When the Admin states they were fired for "performance reasons", they are correct and legally allowed to do just that. Despite the fact that nearly all of the attorney have satisfactory job ratings, they failed to enact Bush priorities, namely immigration enforcement, partisan prosecutions, and investigating allegations of voter fraud. So far we know that Representative Domenici and Wilson (NM?) were pressuring them, and the orders came from the White House, through Harriet Miers, to this Sampson fellow, to Abu Gonzalez.

The politicizing of justice is one of the most disgusting things these animals have ever done. Justice is supposed to be blind, not vindictive.
posted by rzklkng at 6:47 AM on March 13, 2007 [6 favorites]


There's also something clearly wrong at Justice, locally, the case (still ongoing?) of Curt Weldon was handled not locally by Pat Meehan (local US Attorney) but all the way out in Los Angeles. Meehan only goes after politicians with D's. Why couldn't Justice trust him to investigate Weldon?
posted by rzklkng at 6:51 AM on March 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sampson also strongly urged bypassing Congress in naming replacements, using a little-known power slipped into the renewal of the USA Patriot Act in March 2006 that allows the attorney general to name interim replacements without Senate confirmation...By avoiding Senate confirmation, Sampson added, "we can give far less deference to home state senators and thereby get 1.) our preferred person appointed and 2.) do it far faster and more efficiently at less political costs to the White House."

I didn't see it in either article, but some folks think this was not just a series of payback attempts, but also a way to pad the resumes of favored friends for a couple of years before the gravy train leaves the station. Glad to learn the Senate is looking at repealing the provision that allows Gonzalez to put anyone he wants in those positions without Senate confirmation.
posted by mediareport at 6:56 AM on March 13, 2007


White House Counsel Harriet Miers proposed firing all 93 U.S. attorneys.

Ironically, this probably would have been a much better cover since Clinton dismissed all the Attorneys when he first took office in 1993. There's still quite a big difference between that and suddenly deciding they need to go midway through your administration (which, of course, all the major right-wing pundits will pretend not to understand) but it would have looked a hell of a lot better than selectively firing people who received exemplary reviews for sudden bouts of "bad performance."

The funniest defenders of this are the bloggers (or rather commenters on smarter blogs) whining how it's all okay since Attorneys "serve at the pleasure of the President." Which I'm pretty sure at this point is cutesy speak for "the President can do whatever he wants."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:58 AM on March 13, 2007


Impeach. Impeach. Impeach.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 7:04 AM on March 13, 2007


I have gotten my hopes up time and time again about these scandals breaking big and bringing down this obscene horrorshow of an Administration, and time and time again they've been dashed. So you'll forgive me if I can't get quite as excited as I should be just yet.

It's honorable and even noble, but deeply, deeply pathetic, when folks like Josh Marshall put so much effort into (and stake so much on) explicating the minutiae of one "scandal" after another that I know in my heart nobody really cares about.

I mean, of course we should care...but we don't. This is one of the fundamental mistakes the American "left" always seems to make, and for my money it's because we have no gift for the larger narrative, the defining stroke. We historically simply don't seem to understand that nothing makes people glaze over and tune out more quickly than these niggling details.

In a better world, would Americans care about the mendacity, incompetence, and outright criminality of their elected representatives? Sure. But it's going to take a big dumb obvious non-nuanced narrative they can sink their teeth into before they do. I'm not sure this is gonna be the one.

Fingers crossed, though. : . )
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:06 AM on March 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Problem is, adamgreenfield, it would take something like Bush getting a blowjob and/or eating a baby on live television for the public to turn the channel away from American Idol. I hear what you're saying, but like Astro Zombie said; "If you can't bring Capone down for any other reason..."
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:16 AM on March 13, 2007


Given the history behind Bush's presidency, its particularly laughable and ironic that complaints of voter fraud are at the heart of this thing.
posted by hwestiii at 7:16 AM on March 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Adam, the difference now is that the Democrats can hold hearings.
posted by empath at 7:21 AM on March 13, 2007


Raise your hands if you're suprised?

...

Anyone?

Josh Marshal wrote this:
As has happened so many times in the last six years, the maximal version of this story -- which seemed logical six weeks ago but which I couldn't get myself to believe -- turns out to be true. Indeed, it's worse.
It didn't surprise me too much at all, although I might have believed this was the independent work of lower-level people.

You know what's really odd? When guys like Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney and Dusty Foggo were getting busted left and right I was actually shocked, wondering why they were doing it. I mean, they always seemed to put politics above everything, and here they were enforcing laws in a way that was politically horrible. It was like they were eating themselves up from the inside. I thought, for some reason that Gonzales was behind all of it and that he apparently hated corruption (or something). Now I find out the much more logical truth: They weren't behind it and were in fact quite annoyed.
posted by delmoi at 7:21 AM on March 13, 2007


Rumsefeld gone Cheney crippled. Gonzalez on the ropes. We're one or two steps away from the heart of the monster here.

These motherfuckers are going down. They're reeling. It's beautiful.

Gonzalez will be gone within a few weeks. Count on it. They will sacrifice anyone to save George and Dick. It won't work.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:22 AM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


hwestiii, it's important to understand that you're referring to fraudulent claims of voter fraud, themselves cover for Republican voter-suppression operations. That they were prima facie ludicrous is why they were not pursued by the USAs in question, and this is what tagged them as politically unreliable.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:22 AM on March 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


White House Counsel Harriet Miers proposed firing all 93 U.S. attorneys.


This is the part that will hurt them. Since this was mid-term most of those were already there at the current admin's pleasure. They either appointed them or allowed their appointments to stand. They were discussing firing a big chunk of their own. Leaking this will significantly affect party loyalty since the lopsided nature of the relationship will be clear to all of the US prosecutors. The white house directives and improper phone calls will now hold much less sway and prosecutors will make sure their arses are covered. Expect lots of leakage about white house and republican impropriety now...
posted by srboisvert at 7:29 AM on March 13, 2007


White House Counsel Harriet Miers proposed firing all 93 U.S. attorneys.

Miers raised with an aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales the prospect of asking all chief federal district prosecutors to resign in 2004 as a logical way to start a new term with a new slate of U.S. attorneys.


That wouldn't have been unusual, but Rove knew that they were about to slip a provision into the Patriot Act reauthorization that would allow them to install US Attorneys without having to run them through Senate approval. Why fire all 93 when you can fire 9, and put in whomever you like?

Also, it's fine to fire US Attorneys for any reason, but if your reason is that they're handing down indictments to your Republican buddies, and you're trying to stop it, then you're going to be on the hook for obstruction of justice.
posted by bshort at 7:34 AM on March 13, 2007


Some day someone will have to do a post mortem on how this malignancy grew. I think it is simplistic to say because of 9/11 in fear, we turned over rights, or, they are just evil.

With George W. Bush, we had a man who was incompetent who could not see his own flaws. He was a rich frat boy with nothing to distinguish himself. Without a famous father he would have run a hardware store into the ground and coached a Little League team to a winless season.

His father was described as born on third base and thought he hit a triple. But GHW Bush was a man who did go to war, a man who did build his resume. His son, GW Bush was born on third base and then stole second.

When you have a huge ego and no abilities to back it up, you are forced into some defense mechanisms. One is a Lysenko view of the world. You toss seeds in cold water and you have winter wheat. GW thought that he could be Prince Hal. (I know I'm mixing metaphors here.) And for another metaphor, it is the Bad News Bears myth. The team full of screw ups will get their act together and beat that team that wasn't screwing up and actually gave a damn about practicing the whole time.

Another defense mechanism is to surround yourself with similar people. Alberto Gonzalez and Harriet Miers were blind-eye loyalists who followed him from his early days, incompetent at anything but loyalty. Iraq couldn't succeed because Bush insisted on listening to people incompetent enough to agree with him (or enabling enough to lie to him).

A third defense mechanism is the belief that whatever I do, it is because everybody does it. Bush perceives his dishonesties as being part of the game, when in reality he is changing the game.

History is going to be cruel to GW Bush. Not just because of his incompetence and corruption. One of historian's other great whipping boys was Warren Harding - in part because Harding was inarticulate (his inauguration speech is actually funny). Nixon was able to redeem himself in part because he could write. Reagan's stock went up because he could act the part of the president - he had a barrel chase and knew how to enter a room. Any time any one in the future tries to say something nice about GW, a short video clip will play and they will think our generation was a cabal of idiots.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:34 AM on March 13, 2007 [16 favorites]


it's important to understand that you're referring to fraudulent claims of voter fraud, themselves cover for Republican voter-suppression operations. That they were prima facie ludicrous is why they were not pursued by the USAs in question, and this is what tagged them as politically unreliable.

That needs repeating often.
Why this is very important.
The very reason for the Federalist Society is this same issue.
Kinda reminds one of the days following the "war of northern aggression" after the Supreme Court was thoroughly corrupted (another lesser goal of the Federalist Society.)
posted by nofundy at 7:42 AM on March 13, 2007


It's honorable and even noble, but deeply, deeply pathetic, when folks like Josh Marshall put so much effort into (and stake so much on) explicating the minutiae of one "scandal" after another that I know in my heart nobody really cares about. -- adamgreenfield

Uh, looks like it pays the bills. TPM has gone from an one man operation to a multi-blog empire. You might find it pathetic, but believe it or not some people actually find this stuff interesting regardless of the political implications. It's actually entertaining to see the depths of political depravity these guys stoop too.

And come on, people who matter care. Unlike over the past six years, the democrats are actually in power. If this had happened while the republicans held power, no one would have blinked an eye (other then to wink at each other) That's a huge difference.

I mean, of course we should care...but we don't. This is one of the fundamental mistakes the American "left" always seems to make, and for my money it's because we have no gift for the larger narrative, the defining stroke. We historically simply don't seem to understand that nothing makes people glaze over and tune out more quickly than these niggling details. -- adamgreenfield

Uh, speak for yourself.
posted by delmoi at 7:52 AM on March 13, 2007


You know who else served at the pleasure of the President? Monica... Eva Braun.

And surely, this is the point where someone says "Surely, this will be what finally brings down the administration!"
posted by symbioid at 7:52 AM on March 13, 2007


I'd still like to know why Arlen Specter put that provision in the Patriot Act to begin with? Who asked him for it, and why was it necessary? And why did he go along? Perhaps the threat of this had something to do with it? (The timeline is wrong, but maybe they let Arlen know earlier and this is cover. Who know but Arlen?)
posted by rzklkng at 7:53 AM on March 13, 2007


I did some research on Carol Lam for ePluribus Media, and came away with a lot of respect for her. I truly believe she had indictments in the pipeline for Duncan Hunter and that would have led to some very embarrassing revelations about Defense earmarks.
posted by Biblio at 7:56 AM on March 13, 2007


I'd still like to know why Arlen Specter put that provision in the Patriot Act to begin with?

He didn't
posted by delmoi at 7:56 AM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Talkingpointsmemo.com is a godsend. Josh Marshall has thousands of loyal readers who count on TPM for early and detailed analysis of scandals the mainstream media will get to in a couple of weeks. It's uncanny how many scandal stories that started out with TpM being the only serious journalistic discussion of them have since broken into national stories.

Don't be knocking TPM as "pathetic." It's my first read every single day. And not only mine.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:57 AM on March 13, 2007 [5 favorites]


I firmly believe that we should lay out the Bush Years as a comic book using this or the old fashioned way (or the new Web 2.0 way!). We can have people do it in a distributed manner, upload and categorize them with a timestamp, and then vote on panels. Then the "best" panels can be assembled into a timeline, making it a real, distributed graphic novel. Paging Warren Ellis...
posted by rzklkng at 8:02 AM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


delmoi, Mr. Magic Bullet doesn't exactly have stirling credibility? If one of his staff "slipped it in", then who was it, and what happened to them?
posted by rzklkng at 8:06 AM on March 13, 2007


The problem is that we are scrambling to fix all of the bad laws BEFORE we undo the damage. We should allow the next administration to use the same laws to repair the damage, THEN fix the laws...
posted by DesbaratsDays at 8:10 AM on March 13, 2007


My apologies.
posted by markulus at 8:14 AM on March 13, 2007


Keep apologizing markulus - that is a subscription only link..
posted by srboisvert at 8:21 AM on March 13, 2007


srboisvert, possibly this could be of assistance...
posted by rzklkng at 8:26 AM on March 13, 2007


I'm sure this will all be smoothed-over by the time Bush begins his third term...
posted by Thorzdad at 8:41 AM on March 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm always hesitant to predict consequences for any member of this group of crooks, but I'll be surprised if Gonzales still has his job at the end of the month. With the story touching Bush now, they're going to have to throw someone to the wolves, and Gonzales looks like a very likely candidate.

Oh, and Talking Points Memo is the best blog on the internet, bar none. In a fairer world, Marshall would have a Pulitzer by now.
posted by EarBucket at 9:04 AM on March 13, 2007


Ashcroft may have been a collossal prick, but at least he seemed somewhat competent

Based on what? Losing a senate race to a dead guy? Covering up boobies on statues? Maybe his hyping of Jose Padilla as a dirty bomber?
posted by kirkaracha at 9:09 AM on March 13, 2007


they are shitcanning anyone who would stand in the way of the election cancellation.
posted by quonsar at 9:16 AM on March 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oooh. Gonzales is holding a press conference at 2:00 EST. Wonder what he has to tell us?
posted by EarBucket at 9:26 AM on March 13, 2007


another red herring: Gonzales is just another hack, a tool, a very disposable one -- throwing a party because a particularly dim member of the hired help will be left holding the bag is a bit too optimistic.

Rumsfeld is gone because, frankly, after the elections, somebody had to go and it sure as hell wasn't going to be Bush or Cheney. unless any of you guys have a video of George W. Bush having gay sex with Satan, impeachment won't happen. it just won't -- among so many reasons, because Joe Lieberman -- a guy who's more pro-Bush of many Republicans at this point -- is calling the shots, without him it's back to a Republican Senate, so if you're a Democratic Senator you'd better keep kissing Joe's scrawny ass, hoping that he doesn't get mad.

no one is going to jail, period -- Libby will get pardoned just like that Iran-Contra gang, that's how these people operate, the family look out for each other. the worse that can happen to Gonzales -- and to Bush/Cheney once they leave office in 2009 -- is that their travels will be somehow restricted thanks to some foreign "activist judge", just like it happened to Kissinger thanks to his Cambodian shenanigans.


Uh, speak for yourself.

explain us again how that vote for cloture was going to bury Lieberman under the Lamont landslide, delmoi, please -- make us laugh.
posted by matteo at 9:30 AM on March 13, 2007


srboisvert - The opening paragraph, which you can read, tells you all you need to know.
posted by markulus at 9:43 AM on March 13, 2007


Oooh. Gonzales is holding a press conference at 2:00 EST. Wonder what he has to tell us?

Given the circumstances, he just received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:33 AM on March 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Control the courts and the currency, let the rabble have the rest."
posted by Smedleyman at 11:29 AM on March 13, 2007


"mistakes were made"
posted by caddis at 12:38 PM on March 13, 2007


Based on what? Losing a senate race to a dead guy?

I meant just that Ashcroft seemed competent. I didn't say he was competent; he clearly wasn't. But at least he seemed like he knew was doing. Gonzales is a boob through and through.
posted by psmealey at 12:44 PM on March 13, 2007


Oh... I get it, and Gonzales will take "full responsibility" too, I bet.
posted by symbioid at 1:08 PM on March 13, 2007


With the story touching Bush now, they're going to have to throw someone to the wolves, and Gonzales looks like a very likely candidate.

How would that help? Wouldn't it look worse if Bush tossed a guy overboard whose mistake was that he listened to the White House's request?

Also: this story just keeps getting better, doesn't it...
posted by clevershark at 1:09 PM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's funny how someone who's not been competent at anything but loyalty (as has been eloquently put before) should be so quick to blame his underling (who has resigned) for the whole affair.

Gonzales has to have some idea of the hatchet job that's going to be done on him once CheneyBush no longer needs him around. No wonder he's rejecting calls for his own resignation!
posted by clevershark at 1:14 PM on March 13, 2007




Let's see how Matt Drudge is spinning this one:

FLASHBACK: Clinton White House Fired All Prosecutors...

Ah, of course, Clinton Did It First™. For when you're out of things to say.
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 2:06 PM on March 13, 2007


Clinton Did It First™ thing when he took office.
posted by mkultra at 2:19 PM on March 13, 2007


I don't know. We'll never have the justice we deserve out of the hides of Bush and co., but I'm taking great pleasure in watching the Republicans eat themselves -- Scooter falling on his sword for Cheney, Gonzales getting canned because he fired Republican lawyers, and the glorious spectacle that will be the Republican nomination process. Giuliani, McCain, and Romney are all running away from their very open pasts (pro-abortion, pro-gay, divorces, adultery), and Tancredo, Hunter, and Brownback are going to remind the American public, on a daily basis, of what homo-loving fetus-hating RINOs they are.

Don't get me wrong -- the damage wrought by the Republican party on America over the last seven years has been palpable. But I'm going to enjoy the recriminations. It's the last acts of Caligula all over again.
posted by bardic at 2:29 PM on March 13, 2007


Anyone who's lived in DC will tell you that polishing your resume before a new POTUS comes in is commonplace. It's kind of a natural part of the economy there if you're employed by the Fed.

Firings like this, coming in the middle of the term, are strange. Literally, Gonzales thought the press would just ignore this stuff.

I mean, they've ignored everything else. But tipping points remain.
posted by bardic at 2:32 PM on March 13, 2007


I meant just that Ashcroft seemed competent. I didn't say he was competent; he clearly wasn't. But at least he seemed like he knew was doing. Gonzales is a boob through and through.

Ashcroft was competent but evil. Gonzales is evil (worse then ashcroft) and incompetent, which is why he fits in so much better with the rest of the government.
posted by delmoi at 3:09 PM on March 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


...McKay is not some Democratic flunky appointed during the Clinton administration. He's a Republican loyalist appointed by George Bush. He worked with the FBI to investigate claims of voter fraud and simply concluded that the evidence wasn't there. But that wasn't good enough for the local politicos: they wanted him to keep digging until he came up with something -- anything -- that would have produced a few hundred more votes for the Republican candidate.
But he didn't, and that annoyed George Bush. So now he's out of a job. ...

posted by amberglow at 3:11 PM on March 13, 2007


i heard that Rove won't go testify, so they'll have to subpoena him.
posted by amberglow at 3:12 PM on March 13, 2007


Echoing what bardic said, we should all look at this story from a historical perspective. People like Bush do not "go down". He is from one of those families that is so intertwined with the entrenched businesses and political interests in this country that it simply isn't possible to take him down without suffering some consequence from from his family.

The Bush dynasty, like the Kennedys and other "royal" American families, transcend riches and the politics of the moment. Bush doesn't need to be filthy rich. Cheney does, without a doubt. He's got something to prove and is ruthless in the pursuit of it. Cheney wants the money because money or the lack thereof has defined him his whole life. Note how Cheney describes himself by his job "I was a lineman, I was an electrician, etc". Bush doesn't do that, because he doesn't care about money. He defines himself by his relationships - the clowning frat boy, the uniter, etc.

If Bush wants to buy a major league baseball team, he picks up the phone. If his brother wants to buy a ton of commercial real estate, he picks up the phone. If G.H.W.Bush needs to bail his son out of an S&L indictment, he picks up the phone. If W gets tied up in an Iraq war started by some money-hungry neocons (of which he isn't one), he picks up the phone. He calls Baker and Scocroft. He calls the same people his family always called. He doesn't call Perle or Kristol or that crew.

And those people call him - it's a two way street. Baker is behind Fred Thomson's considering to run. What that means is that if Thomson chooses to run, there is money, and there is the Bush family. Maybe not publicly, but they'll crack open their rolodex and make some introductions for Fred. "So Fred, you want to run, good for you. Jim's said a lot of great things about you. I hear you're an actor as well as a former senator? Great! You know I have a nephew in Hollywood, making a go of it, I'm not sure what he does. Oh you've heard of him. Great, Small world, eh?" You know how it goes.

For these families, who are so comfortable and familiar with excessive money that it is an afterthought, their source of wealth is their connections.

What is going on here, with the scandal and the aftermath, and what started with the Democrats' victory in congress is Bush, the man, making overtures to established democrats, like Kennedy and Clinton from similar "royal" families or those looking to establish one, and essentially saying "Look, we all transcend this unpleasant business. You have your goals and I had mine, and maybe I can help with yours, when I leave. I'll make some calls, don't worry. You can have Rumsfeld, Rove, Gonzales and whoever else you want, but let's not dirty ourselves in this business".

Haven't you noticed all along how Bush courted Hillary? His greatest criticism of them was some goofy jokes. Hillary and Bush speak the same language. He knows she wants to be in the White House, and he sees no reason to stand in her way. And she doesn't see him as a threat. He's not running against her, and she's more like his kind of people than Romney or Guiliani (not to mention McCain). Why not invite her to the Rose Garden for some photo ops, and build her stature?

I guarantee you Bush never goes down. Never. It just doesn't happen. The Rockefellers never went down. The Harriman's never went down. The rothschild's never went down. Just forget about it. What upstart Senators are going to want to turn that Rolodex against them? Is anyone so clean that they can survive that onslaught? Can other people in their families?
posted by Pastabagel at 3:16 PM on March 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


more on the Abramoff stuff: Bush removal ended Guam investigation--US attorney's demotion halted probe of lobbyist

This scandal has everything---Patriot Act, Elections, Abramoff, Rove, Cunningham, Plame, Iraq, etc--it's all their criminal and shady actions and policies rolled into one.
posted by amberglow at 3:25 PM on March 13, 2007


Charles Turner, US Attorney under Reagan: ...It's scandalous. The lies that have come out of Gonzales' office -- it's just shocking. It's very clear to me that the Bush administration let it be known .¤.¤. that U.S. attorneys can be pressured, and politics plays a role in their retention in office. That is very clear."
...
The newspaper also reported that Bush officials ranked all U.S. attorneys. Quoting e-mails from administration officials, the newspaper said prosecutors got strong ratings if they "exhibited loyalty" to the administration and weak ratings if they "chafed at administration initiatives." ...

posted by amberglow at 3:36 PM on March 13, 2007




I tend to agree that for the most part, Bush is purely a cipher. Now that the neo-con wet dream is over, he's going back to his roots -- daddy, Baker, etc. No, he'll never be impeached. But history does matter. This administration is wracked by incompetence and scandal. More people are going to be indicted. Those are just stubborn facts that no amount of spin can erase.

There will be plenty, including lots of Federal buildings named after him and Cheney. And yet, let's make sure that future generations of Americans laugh every time they walk past the Cheney Federal Office Building, the same way DC residents chuckle walking past the J. Edgar Hoover FBI building.
posted by bardic at 4:02 PM on March 13, 2007


Ashcroft may have been a colossal prick, but at least he seemed somewhat competent

Ashcroft was only "somewhat competent" in the sense that the word "competent" has been downgraded during the Bush administration to mean "capable of forming complete sentences" and "does not shit his own pants in public"
posted by jonp72 at 5:02 PM on March 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


Digby is speculating that rove was going to try voter suppression by making up fake "voter fraud" cases, and some prosecutors refused to play ball. For all the "voter ID" initiatives, actual voter fraud prosecutions are rare (to the point that I've never even heard of it ever happening).

Voter ID laws really do disenfranchise people.
posted by delmoi at 5:34 PM on March 13, 2007


Man, just imagine how much America could suck if Bush were just a little more competent, and were able to avoid disaster in Iraq. If Jeb had managed to get in in 2008 they would really have fucked up this country.
posted by delmoi at 5:41 PM on March 13, 2007


Man, I’d like to pick up a phone. That’d be sweet. I could, like, dial something, y’know? And I could talk to someone. And we’d relate and stuff. Dude. Nothing heavy you know. But maybe we could be friends or something. Maybe eat some salisbury steak at each others’ houses or something. Just from, y’know, the phone, man. That’d be really magical.

“I guarantee you Bush never goes down. Never”

Lips?
Yeah, they aren’t destroyed, but they are balkanized. Happened to the Habsburgs, it happened to the line of Martel (bit after, y’know, Charlemange), it’ll happen here.
...hell, Schwatzenegger married a Kennedy.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:45 PM on March 13, 2007


In Answer To "Was A Law Broken?"
posted by amberglow at 6:01 PM on March 13, 2007


5 Stages of GOP Reaction to a Scandal--
1. Ignoring
2. Belittling
3. Blaming the Media
4. Evoking Bill Clinton.
5. Boredom ...

posted by amberglow at 6:35 PM on March 13, 2007


Schwatzenegger married a Kennedy.

And now he's governor of California. But for his Austrian birth, he'd run for president.

And the Bushes aren't balkanized. The visible portion of latest generation is working in television and entertainment (Billy Bush and Lauren Bush, model and former girlfriend of the heir to the Rothschild banking fortune). But the rest of them are plugged-in, behind the scenes. Billy's brother, John S., worked for Booz Allen (2003's "govt contractor of the year") and now runs a healthcare company in Mass. He's 38. Their dad was a top executive at DC's Riggs bank
which this week agreed to pay a record $25 million in civil fines for violations of law intended to thwart money laundering."page E02

The bank accounts under investigation may have been Saudi, though the article does not state that. It does, however, go on to say: "...a source familiar with the multiple federal investigations of the bank's Saudi accounts and other embassy accounts say Jonathan Bush's investment advice unit has "no relationship whatsoever" with any of the Riggs's Saudi accounts." Moreover, the newspaper quotes a spokesman for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as saying "any suggestion of political influence in the Riggs situation is 'preposterous.'"

In 1991, Bush was fined $30,000 in Massachusetts and several thousand in Connecticut for violating registration laws governing securities sales. He was barred from securities brokerage with the general public in Massachusetts for one year.
Granted they aren't all winners; there seems to be greater expectations for the men than the women.

Don't be surprised if in twenty years, George P. Bush is on the cover of Time, and the article is about how different he is from his uncle or he's the family iconoclast. The article has probably already been written, it's just waiting for the country to catch up.

You and I pick up the phone, we can get a barbecue going. They get on the phone, and they take over the country.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:53 PM on March 13, 2007


Is there some factory churning out beady-eyed and nasty looking pasty and chubby white guys? Kyle Sampson
posted by amberglow at 7:16 PM on March 13, 2007


Great Vid of Sens. Shumer and Feinstein talking about this.
posted by delmoi at 7:52 PM on March 13, 2007


i wonder if Fred Fielding will become the new AG?
posted by amberglow at 8:06 PM on March 13, 2007


Kyle Sampson

Huh, amberglow. I could swear I've seen that guy before.
posted by EarBucket at 8:34 PM on March 13, 2007


"And the Bushes aren't balkanized."

Eh, give it 5 or 6 decades. If I thought money and power would leave something lasting I'd chase it myself. As it is, you have Ozymandias - look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.
Newton, Galileo, Einstein...hell, Socrates - name one Athenian tyrant offhand. Name one of the powerful men who had Socrates executed. 3,000 years from now the whole Bush family might, at best, be a minor, minor footnote.
...doesn't help much right now tho' I suppose...sorry.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:40 PM on March 13, 2007


Is there some factory churning out beady-eyed and nasty looking pasty and chubby white guys? Kyle Sampson

High power eyeglass lenses may make eyes look smaller. His eyes might not be that blurry. But yeah he reminds me of the beady eyed guy described in 1984
He looked round the canteen again. Nearly everyone was ugly, and would still have been ugly even if dressed otherwise than in the uniform blue overalls. On the far side of the room, sitting at a table alone, a small, curiously beetle-like man was drinking a cup of coffee, his little eyes darting suspicious glances from side to side. How easy it was, thought Winston, if you did not look about you, to believe that the physical type set up by the Party as an ideal-tall muscular youths and deep-bosomed maidens, blond-haired, vital, sunburnt, carefree -- existed and even predominated. Actually, so far as he could judge, the majority of people in Airstrip One were small, dark, and ill-favoured. It was curious how that beetle-like type proliferated in the Ministries: little dumpy men, growing stout very early in life, with short legs, swift scuttling movements, and fat inscrutable faces with very small eyes. It was the type that seemed to flourish best under the dominion of the Party.
posted by delmoi at 10:10 PM on March 13, 2007


As pointed out by amberglow a few comments up:
18 USCS § 1503

§ 1503. Influencing or injuring officer or juror generally

(a) Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any grand or petit juror, or officer in or of any court of the United States,

or officer who may be serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate judge or other committing magistrate, in the discharge of his duty,… or corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
Domenici, Sampson, and others might be guilty of this. If Bush or Cheney were involved it could be high crimes or misdemeanor. Squishy stuff like lies about WMD to start an illegal war which kills thousands upon thousands, emboldens the terrorists, weakens our safety, drains our budget and other sundry ills, fails to excite the passion for impeachment. Yet, a technical violation of statute, well, then it all depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is or some such rot.
posted by caddis at 12:01 AM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


just to be clear, prosecutors are officers of the court
posted by caddis at 12:02 AM on March 14, 2007


XQUZYPHYR

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but didn't the law at that time require Clinton to get Congressional confirmation of his replacement U.S. Attorneys?

I'd say the lack of confirmation hearings is the real issue here. The Bushies wouldn't have been so quick to fire these people if they had had to push their new choices through Congress -- especially now that the Democrats are in power.
posted by Target Practice at 4:36 AM on March 14, 2007


TPM & Kos: The assertion that Attorney Lam was let go for being lax on immigration is laughable. Lam's corruption investigation of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., had expanded to include another California Republican, Rep Jerry Lewis.....for most White House's a US attorney involved in such a politically charged and ground-breaking corruption probe would have been untouchable....turns out, it's not just that Lam was looking at more members of Congress, but the number three guy at the CIA was under investigation and the head of the CIA had just resigned related to the Cunningham case.
posted by caddis at 7:22 AM on March 14, 2007


Correct me if I'm mistaken, but didn't the law at that time require Clinton to get Congressional confirmation of his replacement U.S. Attorneys?

Yes, the law was changed when the Patriot Act was renewed in march, in a tiny provision sliped in by a staffer that no one noticed.
posted by delmoi at 9:15 AM on March 14, 2007


delmoi

I know; that was my point. It seemed to me it was a bit silly to compare Bush Jr's firing of these US Attorneys to Clinton's, and not just because Clinton did it when he came into office instead of six years into his Administration.
posted by Target Practice at 10:52 AM on March 14, 2007


that's their only spin--Clinton Did It! Clinton Did It! (and he didn't)
it's sad.

rudepundit:
... Gonzales admitted nothing yesterday. What we saw was the kind of legalistic bob and weave that makes "what is is" seem positively quaint. As the growing mold of the U.S. Attorney firings begins to infect the walls of the White House, AG AG, a man who has the creepy semi-smile you see on men like Jeffrey Dahmer just before they dine on a face, most regretted the leak of information: "I regret the fact that information was inadequately shared with individuals within the Department of Justice and that consequently information was shared with the Congress that was incomplete."
Then, just to demonstrate how clearly Gonzales is responsible for what goes on at the DOJ, he said, "As we can all imagine in an organization of 110,000 people, I am not aware of every bit of information that passes through the halls of the Department of Justice, nor am I aware of all decisions." In other words, the firing of U.S. Attorneys in collaboration with the White House was something that Gonzales was kept out of the loop on, ...
Goddamn, throw the fuckin' book at him. Make sure it's the book that has things like, you know, the laws of the land in it. ...

posted by amberglow at 3:27 PM on March 14, 2007


more from mahablog on the WSJ's actual bald-faced lies (she's been excellent on this along with Talkingpointsmemo): ... Karl Rove and Co. were trying to turn the federal judicial system into a tool for getting Republicans elected and keeping Republicans in office. ... --using the Patriot Act to do it, too.
posted by amberglow at 3:38 PM on March 14, 2007


Editorial Pages Call for Axing Attorney General (it's a roundup) --..."We haven't seen a renegade U.S. Justice Department like this since John Mitchell ran it for President Nixon," declared the Sacramento Bee. ...
posted by amberglow at 3:41 PM on March 14, 2007


George Bush, or his henchmen, puts pressure on a prosecutor and he responds:
“I must opine that after such a lapse of time, the insistence for urgency in this case appears to suggest an intentional or unintentional attempt to intervene into the political process of the upcoming presidential election ... .

“For me personally to participate in an investigation that I know will or could easily lead to the above scenario ... is inappropriate. I believe it amounts to prosecutorial misconduct and violates the most basic fundamental rule of Department of Justice policy.”
The issue? Whether to investigate the Clintons for Whitewater. Like father, like son.
posted by caddis at 1:31 PM on March 15, 2007


Myths and falsehoods in the U.S. attorney scandal--... In reporting on the scandal, media figures have advanced several false, misleading, or baseless claims about the attorneys' dismissals: ...
posted by amberglow at 3:29 PM on March 16, 2007


related HookerGate thing? --
... In October, 2006 the Department of Homeland Security extended the contract of Shirlington Limousine, the official prostitute transportation company for the Hookergate scandal. Democratic Party congressional representatives were predictably outraged. Didn’t make any difference at the time, though.

So now, in the middle of the AttorneyGate imbroglio (part of which is centered on prosecution of the HookerGate scandal by fired US Attorney Carol Lam), is it merely coincidental that on March 13th, Shirlington Limousine was quietly denied its appeal to GAO to rebid their contract with DHS? ...

posted by amberglow at 4:44 PM on March 16, 2007




Boy, has Kyle Sampson learned his lesson, or what? He hasn't resigned because of his role in a scheme to fire prosecutors for political reasons, oh no: he resigned because he didn't succeed in organizing "a more effective political response" to the charges of impropriety. ...
posted by amberglow at 1:53 PM on March 17, 2007


White House Seeking Gonzales Replacements---
Republican officials operating at the behest of the White House have begun seeking a possible successor to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose support among GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has collapsed, according to party sources familiar with the discussions.
Among the names floated Monday by administration officials are Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and White House anti-terrorism coordinator Frances Townsend. Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson is a White House prospect. So is former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson, but sources were unsure whether he would want the job.
Republican sources also disclosed that it is now a virtual certainty that Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, whose incomplete and inaccurate congressional testimony about the prosecutors helped precipitate the crisis, will also resign shortly. ...

posted by amberglow at 4:28 PM on March 19, 2007


Bush is speaking live right now and trying to threaten about subpoenas--they're really really scared about this. They want Rove and Miers to "interview" in secret without transcript and no oath.

Meanwhile, many Clinton people testified before Congress in public-- ... According to the Congressional Research Service, under President Clinton, 31 of his top aides testified on 47 different occasions. The aides who testified included some of Clinton’s closest advisors: ...
posted by amberglow at 2:52 PM on March 20, 2007


Bush is speaking live right now and trying to threaten about subpoenas--they're really really scared about this. They want Rove and Miers to "interview" in secret without transcript and no oath.

Meanwhile, many Clinton people testified before Congress in public-- ... According to the Congressional Research Service, under President Clinton, 31 of his top aides testified on 47 different occasions. The aides who testified included some of Clinton’s closest advisors: ...
posted by amberglow at 2:53 PM on March 20, 2007


and they're still withholding documents: ... both House and Senate. He said Rove and Harriet Miers would be offered to the committees for their testimony in the Alberto Gonzales prosecutors scandal. However, it would be unsworn testimony, not under oath, behind closed doors, and no transcript would be permitted. Now, that is not what Congress is looking for.”

UPDATE: During a press conference, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also revealed that the White House is restricting the types of documents that it is willing to release voluntarily. Schumer said the White House is willing to turn over emails between the White House and the Justice Department, and between the White House and third parties, but not intra-White House emails. ...


Bush right now on tv just said he's giving them all documents.
posted by amberglow at 2:56 PM on March 20, 2007


... Rove's job is to build a permanent Republican majority and smash the Democratic Party in the process. If that means replacing principled conservatives in the US Attorneys Office with Bush loyalists; then, so be it.
The question of "corrupting the justice system" probably never entered Rove's mind. The Military Commissions Act, the Patriot Act, the repeal of habeas corpus, due process and the presumption of innocence are all grim reminders of the administration's contempt for justice. They have equal disdain for law enforcement; preferring 9-11-type round ups by federal shock troops rather than the traditional methods of crime prevention. ...

posted by amberglow at 3:29 PM on March 20, 2007


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