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"I am not the attorney general. That's the attorney general."
May 16, 2007 2:54 AM   Subscribe

Comey made frantic calls to his own chief of staff and to Robert Mueller, then FBI director, while he raced to the hospital, sirens blasting. He sprinted up the stairs of the hospital to get to Ashcroft's room before Gonzales and Card did. . . . "I couldn't stay if the White House was engaging in conduct that had no legal basis." Comey testifies that there was something of a line to resign that day: Mueller; then Comey's chief of staff; and then Ashcroft's chief of staff—who asked only that Comey wait until "Ashcroft was well enough to resign with me."
A Saturday Night Tuesday Morning Massacre narrowly averted by an illness and the Madrid Train Bombings? Is it a High Crime and Misdemeanor if "the president was quite willing to forge ahead with an illegal program"?
Absoluelty riveting, it reads like a tale out of paperback thriller: in a darkened hospital room, a White House consigliere barges past the sick man's wife, and demands the disoriented Attorney General official sign a paper.
"First, they tried to coerce a man in intensive care -- a man so sick he had transferred the reins of power to Mr. Comey -- to grant them legal approval. Having failed, they were willing to defy the conclusions of the nation's chief law enforcement officer and pursue the surveillance without Justice's authorization." I'm waiting for the movie, but you can watch the video now.
posted by orthogonality (95 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Read the links. It's absolutely fascinating, eyewitness to history that reads like a movie script

Ashcroft, to my surprise, looks better and better:
“And it was only a matter of minutes that the door opened and in walked Mr. Gonzales, carrying an envelope, and Mr. Card,” Comey testified. “They came over and stood by the bed. They greeted the attorney general very briefly. And then Mr. Gonzales began to discuss why they were there — to seek his approval for a matter — and explained what the matter was, which I will not do.”

“And Attorney General Ashcroft then stunned me,” Comey said. “He lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter, rich in both substance and fact, which stunned me — drawn from the hour-long meeting we’d had a week earlier — and in very strong terms expressed himself, and then laid his head back down on the pillow, seemed spent.”

Comey added that Ashcroft then said, “‘But that doesn’t matter, because I’m not the attorney general. There is the attorney general,’ and he pointed to me, and I was just to his left.”
We can only imagine how history might be different had Attorney General Ashcroft and Deputy Attorney General Comey and their top aides had resigned en masse, prior to the 2004 elections, in March 2004.
posted by orthogonality at 3:00 AM on May 16, 2007


And Mueller, the Director of The FBI.
posted by orthogonality at 3:01 AM on May 16, 2007


Transcript of the hearing.
posted by orthogonality at 3:12 AM on May 16, 2007


Surely this.....
posted by waitingtoderail at 3:30 AM on May 16, 2007


It really is an insane story. Olbermann was on it earlier this evening. Here's some stuff from Salon.

As bad and illegal as the wiretapping was, it pales in comparison to the US attorney purge. This administration's PR campaign is basically a never-ending race to the bottom.
posted by bardic at 3:33 AM on May 16, 2007


it is at this point grim, grim work to read up on the latest example of the Bush administration's appalling -- and possibly unprecedented -- pattern of joyous contempt for anything even remotely resembling the law.

but then, since the liberal media (lol) is giving less play to this than to the very important matter of John Edwards's haircare and its costs, I suppose one has to dig a bit on the Internet and find information by oneself.

good post by the way.
posted by matteo at 3:36 AM on May 16, 2007


The really disorienting thing about this?

Attorney General Ashcroft was one of the good guys; even as scary and authoritarian as he was, there was a line he wouldn't cross.
posted by Malor at 4:02 AM on May 16, 2007 [15 favorites]


That was my first thought too Malor. Ashcroft view of the world as just another line blown right by ....
posted by RMD at 4:18 AM on May 16, 2007


I had that same thought as I listened to this on NPR last night, Malor.
posted by tizzie at 4:19 AM on May 16, 2007


I am sorry to say that the presence of legislative activity is by no means necessarily a sign of the health of a democracy or the absence of a fascist trend. a continuation of Is America on the way to Fascism Naomi Wolf v. Alan Wolfe. Pt 1 & Pt II
posted by adamvasco at 4:32 AM on May 16, 2007


I have new found respect for Ashcroft.
posted by caddis at 4:40 AM on May 16, 2007


Definition of fucked: Dealing with a group of people where John Ashcroft represents the good guy.
posted by eriko at 4:52 AM on May 16, 2007 [8 favorites]


Attorney General Ashcroft was one of the good guys; even as scary and authoritarian as he was,

I have new found respect for Ashcroft
.


maybe, even if it's difficult to read people's hearts, it wasn't out of his being a relatively good guy, maybe it was about him understanding that even Attorney Generals can eventually go to jail; maybe he just had a better understanding of the consequences of one's actions than the rest of the insane bunch.

maybe it's more self-interest than respect for the law and his role as AG
posted by matteo at 4:58 AM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, if we're going to psychoanalyze, observe that there were DOJ vs. White House group dynamics at play, it wasn't just lone ranger Ashcroft against the executive.
posted by Firas at 5:03 AM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


matteo writes "maybe it was about [Ashcroft] understanding that even Attorney Generals can eventually go to jail; maybe he just had a better understanding of the consequences of one's actions than the rest of the insane bunch."

Actually, I think he demonstrated a certain integrity. God knows it's difficult in the ICU to do much of anything.

But if all it was was what you cynically suppose I'll take that! Because that's (as this story shows) leaps and bounds better than Gonzales and Card and Addington and Cheney and Yoo and Wolfowitiz and Bush and ....

My fear is that America has been plunged over a cliff and we will never recover, that eight years of Hillary will cement the unitary executive, perpetual war, and the police state.
posted by orthogonality at 5:08 AM on May 16, 2007


No... I refuse to believe ASHCROFT was as good as we get.

/me starts coming to a sad realization

[accept] or [deny]
posted by Hugh2d2 at 5:10 AM on May 16, 2007


Did Ashcroft do anything at all to prevent, or make people aware of these illegal acts, did he fuck.

Granting the USAG respect for choosing not to shit all over the rule of law, that's a definition of fucked.
posted by fullerine at 5:10 AM on May 16, 2007


It's weird how much James Comey looks like John Ashcroft
posted by Flashman at 5:15 AM on May 16, 2007


My fear is that America has been plunged over a cliff and we will never recover, that eight years of Hillary will cement the unitary executive, perpetual war, and the police state.

Or you could vote for someone other than Hillary.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:26 AM on May 16, 2007


I refuse to believe ASHCROFT was as good as we get.

Only perhaps the best of the worst and hardly deserving of admiration for that.
posted by three blind mice at 5:40 AM on May 16, 2007


ZOMG:

Republican on republican corruption!
posted by delmoi at 5:50 AM on May 16, 2007


This fleshes out my general theory as to why Gonzales won't resign. Not that he knows where the bodies are buried, but that any replacement that makes it past the D Congress will find out where the bodies are buried.
posted by DU at 5:59 AM on May 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I have new found respect for Ashcroft.
posted by caddis


I just thought the same thing.
posted by nola at 6:38 AM on May 16, 2007


Ashcroft acted out of self-interest or Ashcroft did his job. Neither is really worthy of adoration... save in comparison to his successor -- who is apparently incapable of doing either with any measure of competence.
posted by Kikkoman at 6:49 AM on May 16, 2007


...or Ashcroft did his job.

True. But given the people he was associated with I think a large number of us would have taken it as a given that he would have done something OTHER than his job.

I don't think any of us are saying we should make the guy a saint or something, but sometimes you have to admit you judged someone more harshly than they deserved.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:59 AM on May 16, 2007


Comey: ... And I was headed home at about 8 o'clock that evening, my security detail was driving me. And I remember exactly where I was -- on Constitution Avenue ...
posted by RMD at 7:15 AM on May 16, 2007


I admit that I am going to be one of those people who believes that Ashcroft acted because he believes in the law and loves his country above party affiliations and who he is beholden to.

I find it interesting that Republican senators avoided attending the Comey testimony except for Specter and he asked them to attend too.
posted by jadepearl at 7:17 AM on May 16, 2007


From the WaPo article: "Now, it emerges, they were willing to override Justice if need be. That Mr. Gonzales is now in charge of the department he tried to steamroll may be most disturbing of all." Exactly.
posted by ericb at 7:23 AM on May 16, 2007


I just find it disturbing people are hand-wringing over Ashcroft having a conscience.

Whatever his reasoning, he acted in the best intentions of this country. (Thus, he didn't get a medal like Tenet.) It's like someone criticizing Bill Gates for starting his foundation for purely selfish, self-promotional reasons. It may be so, it's probably so, but in the end it was the right thing to do, and it has benefited our society. Ashcroft may be incompetent, or he may be evil, but even incompetence and evil have limits. He deserves some credit for not ignoring his oath to the Constitution in a time when Cheney and Gonzales and Rove use it as toilet paper.

What's interesting now is how it now looks like Ashcroft was pushed out with Powell rather than Ashcroft leaving on his own over his health concerns.
posted by dw at 7:24 AM on May 16, 2007




Thanks for the excellent post and background links, orthogonality.

I am actually physically reading that they barged into Ashcroft's hospital room to get his approval signature for this awful plan.

Bush's approval rating is one percent above Nixon's when he resigned, but we know Bush will never resign. Nor do I think we want him to. Do you really want a President Cheney?

The republicans put on some puppet show last night, but absent was the Thompson, the James Baker/oil-backed uncandidate. The moment he actually gets it into his head to run, he's going to be in the lead, mark my words. There is too much support for him from the key power centers.

We had yet another peak oil thread yesterday, which boiled down to a debate over how dramatically or quickly things will change - no one is arguing that they will have to change. But do you hear any of this from government? No. It's all abortion, religion, and patriotic pap about the hypothetical war on terror that the US isn't actually fighting anywhere except in our telephone records and internet search logs.

I am becoming increasingly convinced that our *sole* value to the world is as a consumer. That's why the world isn't pressuring us too much on Kyoto, the environment, or our public debt. They depend on our consumption habits to fuel their production economies. But no one respects us. We have no moral or philosophical leadership, we are not liberty's last stand against an encroaching totalitarianism. We're not even the world's great inventor anymore.

I don't know about you folks, but I don't really want to live in a crumbling empire. The Bush Adminstration is bad enough (and I voted for them! Why?!) but the democrats can't seem to stop it. Everyone who can read known Gonzales is a crony at best and a criminal at worst. Why is he still there?

Why, with a 24% approval rating, are they still so powerful? Why will no one challenge them? Why does not a single reporter in the White House press corps go off script and call him on the carpet? Who cares if you're thrown off the pool, the administration is only around for two more years anyway.

What are we going to do about this?
posted by Pastabagel at 7:38 AM on May 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


but sometimes you have to admit you judged someone more harshly than they deserved.

Acting professionally, and standing behind your reasoned conclusions ('belief' should have nothing to do with it) is always admirable, but.. How many years did he spend approving the program, every 45 days?
posted by Chuckles at 7:42 AM on May 16, 2007


Bush's approval rating is one percent above Nixon's when he resigned, but we know Bush will never resign. Nor do I think we want him to. Do you really want a President Cheney?

Honestly, would things be run any differently? Assuming Bush is running the country is begging the question, maybe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:50 AM on May 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Although Ashcroft comes across as the admirable one in the hospital room exchange, let's not forget that he ended up signing off on some modified form of the plan he deemed to be legal. What changed? Why did he think the changes made the difference? Are we still being listened to?

And where did I leave my tinfoil?
posted by Joe Invisible at 7:56 AM on May 16, 2007


True. But given the people he was associated with I think a large number of us would have taken it as a given that he would have done something OTHER than his job.

Good point. Ashcroft did demonstrate some ability to make his own decisions -- for better or worse. I'm disappointed in the work he did while in that office, but he probably deserves some credit for walking his own path.
posted by Kikkoman at 8:05 AM on May 16, 2007


We have no moral or philosophical leadership, we are not liberty's last stand against an encroaching totalitarianism.

I think the only people that believed that nonsense were Americans. Look at US history around the globe. The US has never been liberties last stand again totalitarianism.
posted by chunking express at 8:11 AM on May 16, 2007


Shameful!

This government is really being run like a banana republic. I never cease to be amazed at how low these people will go. I really get the sense that these people in the White House have no respect at all for the institution of the US government, and by extention, its citizens.
posted by eye of newt at 8:13 AM on May 16, 2007


Definition of fucked: Dealing with a group of people where John Ashcroft represents the good guy.
posted by eriko


Isn't that the truth. How depressing.
posted by BostonJake at 8:27 AM on May 16, 2007


I always thought there must be dome something to the fact that Russ Feigold supported Ascroft of AG.
posted by afu at 8:38 AM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Age Of Dimished Expectations:

"pretty good Attorney General" = "an AG who often poops on the Constitution but, hell, refuses to allow a herd of diarrhoea-stricken elephants to bury the document under an avalanche of coccidia-ridden, steaming dung"
posted by matteo at 8:39 AM on May 16, 2007


this is our varsity? they suck!
posted by bruce at 9:00 AM on May 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


Bush's approval rating is one percent above Nixon's when he resigned, but we know Bush will never resign. Nor do I think we want him to. Do you really want a President Cheney?

I can never understand why people bring this up as something supposedly worse than the current situation. Right now Cheney basically does run the country. The only difference would be that his approval rating is even lower than Bush's so he would have even less political leverage.
posted by TungstenChef at 9:45 AM on May 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm a little surprised at the surprise about this, to be honest. Ashcroft was never part of the neocon mafia, he was one of the concessions they had to make in early 2001 to the other parts of the GOP coalition, as was Colin Powell. Note that those two were replaced by true neocon hatchetpersons as soon as was politically expedient.
posted by aaronetc at 9:57 AM on May 16, 2007


So the attempted to coerce a sick man into signing something, and when that didn't work out, they just ignored that they needed the signature in the first place?

Our country is losing.
posted by quin at 10:07 AM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


any replacement that makes it past the D Congress will find out where the bodies are buried.

Precisely. Bush can't nominate a corrupt crony, because the Democrats will have a field day crucifying him in testimony. But he can't nominate someone with integrity, because that's the last thing he needs at his back right now. He can't afford to hire an honest man.
posted by EarBucket at 10:22 AM on May 16, 2007 [2 favorites]



Gonzales' law school peers got together and bought a really sweet ad in the Wash Post: here, it's a pdf.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:28 AM on May 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Surely this.....

Surely nothing.
posted by oaf at 10:37 AM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Gonzales misses subpeona deadline (judicary committee response, pdf), has again until 2pm Friday. Contempt of Congress?
posted by eddydamascene at 11:02 AM on May 16, 2007


Bush Personally Intervened To Arrange Ashcroft Hospital Visit And Kneecap Comey

"As Newsweek reported in January 2006, Bush was 'miffed' at Comey for not being a 'team player' on the spying issue.
'On one day in the spring of 2004, White House chief of staff Andy Card and the then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales made a bedside visit to John Ashcroft, attorney general at the time, who was stricken with a rare and painful pancreatic disease, to try–without success–to get him to reverse his deputy, Acting Attorney General James Comey, who was balking at the warrantless eavesdropping. Miffed that Comey, a straitlaced, by-the-book former U.S. attorney from New York, was not a “team player” on this and other issues, President George W. Bush dubbed him with a derisive nickname, 'Cuomo,' after Mario Cuomo, the New York governor who vacillated over running for president in the 1980s.'"
posted by ericb at 11:08 AM on May 16, 2007



He can't afford to hire an honest man.

Nice zinger! And doubly nice for being true. I never thought Bush Jr. could screw himself so royally. And now I'm sure anyone who can will pitch in and help him at his new vocation, which is very geerous of them.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:22 AM on May 16, 2007


This sheds an awful lot of light on why Ashcroft was drummed out in '04 and replaced by Gonzales. This end-run around & short-circuting on the Justice dept. is not surprising to any extent, except its scope, as it just widens, and widens, and widens.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:22 AM on May 16, 2007



...generous...

(clink. have annuther...hic.)
posted by From Bklyn at 11:25 AM on May 16, 2007


Gonzales misses subpeona deadline (judicary committee response, pdf), has again until 2pm Friday. Contempt of Congress?

How about just Contempt?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:22 PM on May 16, 2007


This all seems so hopeless.
posted by maxwelton at 12:41 PM on May 16, 2007


The two biggest groups to blame, incidentally, are the press and the democrats. Neither has any balls.
posted by maxwelton at 12:41 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


The two biggest groups to blame, incidentally, are the press and the democrats. Neither has any balls.

HA! HA! HA! HA!

(I think I just ruptured my spleen!)

Yeah. A bunch of republicans make a mockery of America's democratic institutions and the democratic process and it's the press and the Democrats' fault. Yeah. Wow. Sounds right to me.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:54 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


(i assume you were being ironic, maxwelton, but sadly, i'm sure there are those who actually subscribe to your mockery of a view.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:58 PM on May 16, 2007


Comey’s Revelations Suggest Either Gonzales Is Lying Or More Spying Programs Exist.

$20 says they are tapping every member of Congress and anybody on the administration's opposition/enemies list on a more or less permanent basis. I don't think they could stop themselves once the program was started and now that the system is rigged so that they can accuse anyone of anything and deny them a public trial I'm not clear on who else could stop them. Now that the surveillance infrastructure is there could they resist the temptation to do something that would both increase and protect their power base for a couple generations? Am I irrationally paranoid for suspecting this?
posted by well_balanced at 12:59 PM on May 16, 2007


“Ashcroft may be incompetent, or he may be evil, but even incompetence and evil have limits. He deserves some credit for not ignoring his oath to the Constitution”

There is a difference between believing in something - whether it’s a poor or excellent set of ideals - and believing in nothing.

And I think that’s key here. Ashcroft was/is a religious nut (I’m thinking of the annointing of his head with oil thing). But (to paraphrase Sobchek) at least it’s an ethos.

BushCo very much seems to be, in the Baudrillard sense, a nihilistic enterprise - the reality is the abstraction. The ‘real’ is without origin or reality.
I suspect that’s Rove. And indeed I’ve heard rumblings that lead me to believe that they are knowingly pursuing such a course.
Indeed, their method of imperialism does "attempt to make the real, all of the real, coincide with their models of simulation" and destroy the sovereign difference between the map and the territory, the simulation and the real.

The Watchmen always got me thinking about “nostalga” from the Baudrillard POV - but recently discussion on aesthetics had me re-reading Baudrillard and Lyotard - which might color my perspective here, but I’m certain it applies.
These aren’t the action of immoral men - men who know what they’re doing is wrong, but seek to do it anyway. Nor are they amoral, in that they have no link to ethic.
No, they’re quite definiately engaging in seductive symbol to rule (and a healthy dash of Manicheanistic foreign policy...if you’re not with us... and indeed “The Gulf War Did Not Take Place”) and in Baudrillard’s terms the New World Order attempts to bring Islam into the fold thru the Gulf War.

Which is why the current war sort of seems like shadowboxing.
(but I digress)

But indeed, the “surely this...” trope resonates with the need for moral high ground over meaning:

“The apocalypse is finished, today it is the precession of the neutral, of forms of the neutral and of indifference...all that remains, is the fascination for desertlike and indifferent forms, for the very operation of the system that annihilates us. Now, fascination (in contrast to seduction, which was attached to appearances, and to dialectical reason, which was attached to meaning) is a nihilistic passion par excellence, it is the passion proper to the mode of disappearance. We are fascinated by all forms of disappearance, of our disappearance. Melancholic and fascinated, such is our general situation in an era of involuntary transparency."
(yeah, I clipped that from wiki - so?)

The point being it’s obvious that Ashcroft (in Baudrillard’s terms a nostalgic figure) would resist this.
It doesn’t imply any moral reasoning on his part, merely adherence to a set of principles. Ashcroft would, I suspect, incinerate ethic minorities if it served his cause.
What must have been repugnant to him is precisely this playing with form - this excess devoid of meaning - by Bushco.
It’s not personal loyalty that is big in their circle it’s loyalty to this fabrication of theirs with which they self-identify (and thus it seems like personal loyalty).
Ashcroft is (for good or ill) a genuinely religious person. That may not have been the motivation for his resistance, but it’s indicative of adherence to some semblence of “real” (lacking a better word in this context right now) form. E.G. the constitution being “real” or punishment being “real” (and the resultant pain being “real” - which assumes one believes onself to be “real”) instead of just symbols to be manipulated.

Bushco - it’s obvious that the word of Justice didn’t deter them in any self-checking philosophical sense - it was merely an obsticle to be manipulated.


“ but absent was the Thompson, the James Baker/oil-backed uncandidate. The moment he actually gets it into his head to run, he's going to be in the lead, mark my words.”

Pretty sage. Yeah, probably.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:02 PM on May 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


I don't know, I actually agree with maxwelton on the press point.

They have, time and time again, given this administration a pass with regard to anything that might have related to 'security' after 2001.

All the Whitehouse had to do was say 'terror' and the press just backed down. Hell, it got to the point where they were just regurgitating the whitehouse press releases.

And that is bullshit. The purpose of the press is to hold to the fire, the hands of the people in power. They are to be watched and reported on, because they are our servants.

The press is supposed to be our tool to evaluate how an administration is acting in our name. And the press over the last six years has been laughable at best and rage inducing at worst.

They are finally starting to ask the tough questions, but it took Bush's approval ratings to go below 30% for that to happen, which is depressing beyond belief.
posted by quin at 1:02 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


quin--don't get me wrong. i think there's plenty of blame to go around, and the press have been especially ineffective as a safety-net against the excesses of the executive branch this go-around. but shouldn't the primary blame for an offense lie squarely with the offenders?
posted by saulgoodman at 1:15 PM on May 16, 2007


It's always nice to bring someone a Card when they're in the hospital.
posted by Biblio at 1:32 PM on May 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


Perhaps not all the so called missing emails are truly missing. Greg Palast claims to have 500 juicy emails which were sent to GeorgeWBush.org instead of .com. Here is an interview he did with Amy Goodman. Excerpts:
GREG PALAST: What is it that was so obviously illegal that law professor Kennedy thought they deserved prison time? The evidence that shook him was attached to fifty of the secret emails, something that GOP party chiefs called caging lists, thousands of names of voters. Notably, the majority were African American. Kennedy explained how caging worked.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR.: Caging is an illegal way of getting rid of black votes. You get a list of all the black voters. Then you send a letter to their homes. And if the person doesn't sign it at the homes, the letter then is returned to the Republican National Committee. They then direct the state attorney general, who is friendly to them, who’s Republican, to remove that voter from the list on the alleged basis that that voter does not live in the address that they designated as their address on the voting application form.

...

GREG PALAST: And, by the way, one little sidelight on that is that Captain Iglesias, one of the excuses that they try to give for firing him, Amy, was that he was absent for too many days from office. They didn't mention that he was absent because he was on active duty in the US Naval Reserve. He is now, by the way, bringing the very first claim ever. You cannot fire someone for doing their duty in the US Naval Reserve. He’s now filing a charge against the commander-in-chief, George Bush, for attempting to fire him for simply showing up for active duty.
posted by caddis at 1:32 PM on May 16, 2007


Man is this a juicy thread.

Smedleyman, "Ashcroft would, I suspect, incinerate ethic minorities if it served his cause." I assume you meant ethnic minorities but it makes sense the way you wrote it as well (if in a primarily poetic sense).

It's all just too rich: with irony, with outrage, with contempt for the constitution, the people, 'reality.' It's really breathtaking: Maybe this is the coup that has been the Metatext of this whole administration, not Iraq, but this coup against the constitution.

I read the following on Josh Marshall's blog just now and it fits in here nicely, though far from trumps any of the insights in this thread:
juicy insight.

Thanks for the post orthogonality, this has been terrifying and engaging.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:48 PM on May 16, 2007


Now that the surveillance infrastructure is there could they resist the temptation to do something that would both increase and protect their power base for a couple generations? Am I irrationally paranoid for suspecting this?

I sometimes catch myself thinking along these lines -- it seems the logical thing to do -- then I realize this administration couldn't even do that much competently. I'm sure they've tried, though. Fumblers.

but absent was the Thompson, the James Baker/oil-backed uncandidate. The moment he actually gets it into his head to run, he's going to be in the lead, mark my words.

I thought Frist/HCA was thinking about backing Thompson? Anyway, he'll surely be in the front-running if he goes for it. Fake red pickup truck and all.
posted by Kikkoman at 2:22 PM on May 16, 2007


The rest of the transcript is quite interesting, particularly Specter's questioning, which isn't covered in the video.

SPECTER: Can you give us an example of an exercise of good judgment by Alberto Gonzales?

Let the record show a very long pause.

COMEY: It's hard -- I mean, I'm sure there are examples. I'll think of some.


Ha!
posted by Aloysius Bear at 2:35 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Although he proceeds to ruin the comedy by taking the question seriously:
COMEY: I -- in my experience with Attorney General Gonzales, he was smart and engaged. And I had no reason to question his judgment during our time together at the Department of Justice.

We had a good working relationship. He seemed to get issues. I would make a recommendation to him. He would discuss it with me and make a decision.

As I sit here today, I'll probably five minutes from now think of an example. But I did not have reason to question his judgment as attorney general.

posted by Aloysius Bear at 2:37 PM on May 16, 2007


(and I voted for them! Why?!)

Congenital stupidity offers a convenient "It's not my fault" excuse.
posted by Sparx at 3:24 PM on May 16, 2007


George W. Bush
Failure in Chief,
Destroyer of Constitution
--------------
In lieu of the pitchfork mob gathering at the Whitehouse tomorrow has been declared "Kick a Bush/Cheney 04 sticker owner in the nuts" Day.
--------------
"What is best in life?"...

"To crush your enemies. To see them driven before you. And to hear the lamentations of their women."

Metafilter: lamentations of women, or enemy destroyer, you DECIDE.
posted by HyperBlue at 5:32 PM on May 16, 2007




Yeah. A bunch of republicans make a mockery of America's democratic institutions and the democratic process and it's the press and the Democrats' fault. Yeah. Wow. Sounds right to me.

Oh come on.
Was there an armed uprising? A coup?
No.

Has everything happened behind closed doors, with the public face of the administration completely contradicting the private truth?
No.

The Republicans did not do any of this alone. They did it, but America let them. America fucking helped them. America has precisely the presidency it deserves, and you can be damn sure that neither the corporate media nor the Democrats in their current form are going to be collectively clawing folks' way out of this quagmire any time soon.
posted by poweredbybeard at 8:33 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


This attorney scandal is fucking insane. Just today I was reading about David Iglesias... good grief, am I the only person who didn't know that one of the fired attorneys was the guy Tom Cruise's character in "A Few Good Men" was based on?! Then I'm listening on public radio and they're talking about the whole Bradley Schlozman connection, which I knew nothing about.
posted by nanojath at 11:54 PM on May 16, 2007


Kelly O'Donnell: ...Sir, did you send your then chief of staff and White House counsel to the bedside of John Ashcroft while he was ill to get him to approve that program, and do you believe that kind of conduct from White House officials is appropriate?

BUSH: Kelly, there’s a lot of speculation about what happened and what didn’t happen. I’m not going to talk about it...
posted by taosbat at 9:39 AM on May 17, 2007


PBS The War At Home 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
posted by acro at 10:44 AM on May 17, 2007


John Ashcroft is a Christian kook. But a kook with a high level of professional competency and principles.

Gonzales? Totally incompetent. Completely without principle.

The Republicans did not do any of this alone. They did it, but America let them.

That is not quite true. They carefully engineered over the last 30 years the America they wanted. They killed all our major institutions that produced thinking citizens. And bought off the institutions they needed.

This is no cosmic accident to be sure.
posted by tkchrist at 11:48 AM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]




So the attempted to coerce a sick man into signing something, and when that didn't work out, they just ignored that they needed the signature in the first place?

I was thinking that too, quin. It's depressing and frustrating, and it's just business as usual for these wretches.
posted by minda25 at 12:24 PM on May 17, 2007


Since the 'issue' at issue of the coerced signing is secret, the administration is still protected -- witness the Bush-Blair press conference.
posted by acro at 12:39 PM on May 17, 2007




c e --
“Loyalty,” as Sid Blumenthal reminds us today, has at its core the word “law” - loi in French – such an unfortunate coinage, since as Bush and Gonzales use the term, “law” is a disruptive irritant.
posted by acro at 1:44 PM on May 17, 2007




update Greenwald, Friday May 18 (mp3) Open Source with Christopher Lydon
posted by acro at 8:22 AM on May 18, 2007


Wonkette: A source from the WH tells me Gonzo will be out. Announcement around 5pm today to minimize news coverage.
posted by caddis at 1:57 PM on May 18, 2007


Daily Show with Jon Stewart
posted by acro at 2:21 PM on May 18, 2007


Pipeline CNN video stream
posted by acro at 2:23 PM on May 18, 2007


So much for Wonkette's source. wah.
posted by caddis at 8:11 PM on May 18, 2007


So much for Wonkette's source. wah.
posted by caddis


yeah
posted by taosbat at 9:49 PM on May 18, 2007




So much for Wonkette's source. wah.

"Oh well, maybe next Friday afternoon … after everyone flees for the Memorial Day Weekend!"

That would make more sense, actually.
posted by homunculus at 1:31 PM on May 19, 2007


As for no-confidence votes, maybe senators need a refresher course on American civics," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. "If there was a vote on a no-confidence resolution on Gonzales, Republicans would insist on other resolutions too." Trading Gonzales' resignation for Iraq deadlines?
posted by acro at 8:33 PM on May 20, 2007


Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he did not believe that Gonzales acted illegally. If Bush chooses to support Gonzales, then senators should work on passing legislation such as immigration reform rather than playing "gotcha" games, said Graham, R-S.C.

"I want to focus on that, rather than pass a resolution, that's never been done in the history of the Congress, to play 'gotcha' politics with the attorney general," he said.

Specter appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation," McConnell spoke on ABC's "This Week," and Graham was on "Fox News Sunday."

posted by acro at 8:41 PM on May 20, 2007






Yeah, and I notice that Monica Goodling, when she needed a lawyer for hereself, didn't hire someone who graduated from Regent.
posted by caddis at 2:26 PM on May 21, 2007




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