Category Archives: Alberto Gonzales

>Gone-Zales: AG resigns

>Most Democratic officials who commented on the resignation of AG Gonzales did so in a manner that brings to mind the old line, “And, don’t let the door hit you on the ….” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on the resignation of Alberto Gonzales: “Alberto Gonzales was never the right man for this job. He lacked independence, he lacked judgment, and he lacked the spine to say no to Karl Rove. This resignation is not the end of the story. Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House.” [DemSen]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s take on the resignation. “The resignation of Attorney General Gonzales is long overdue. The rampant politicization of federal law enforcement that occurred under his tenure seriously eroded public confidence in our justice system.” [The Gavel]

Democratic Caucus leader Rahm Emanuel’s comment, and my personal favorite, “Alberto Gonzales is the first Attorney General who thought the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth were three different things. The President should nominate a new Attorney General whose loyalty to the Constitution is greater than his loyalty to the Republican Party.” [Dems.gov]

The Gleaner remarks on the relationship between former AG Gonzales and Nevada Senator John Ensign (R-NV)

Accounts of “The Resignation,” at the Washington Post The Hill New York Times McClatchy

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>Sen. Clinton in Pahrump, NV while Big City Reporter Displays Bias

>The Las Vegas Review Journal is Surprised! that Senator Clinton drew a nice crowd of 2,500 people in Pahrump, Nevada during her visit. First, it rather sounds like Senator Clinton did as Governor Richardson [correction: Richardson has not campaigned in Pahrump] and Senator Dodd have done before — brought the campaign to areas outside the metropolitan statistical areas; and, secondly no matter where a Democratic candidate may go the LVRJ will go blocks out of the way to find an opponent to interview. This must be their “fair and balanced” approach to journalism. What the reader can learn about the ISSUES is summed up as: “Clinton hit her familiar themes in her speech: health care, education, getting out of Iraq. After speaking for about half an hour, she fielded questions from the crowd about trade, energy, stem cell research, education, Social Security and the economy.

Excuse me, but in the interest of journalism — just good old fashioned reportage — could a reporter actually deign to enlighten the reading masses about the SUBSTANCE of the campaigns. However, that would require cutting the patronizing prose about highway signage, and development of “Something Crest, Something Ranch, Something Ridge.”

Rant Warning: As a denizen of the rural climes I think I can recognize when we’re being patronized. We have unique “stuff” that often draws attention, like the fireworks stands. We have fire danger signs, and we pay attention to them. We have items in our grocery stores you may not have available in town, like lamp wicks for cow camp lanterns. For this we are often politely called “quaint,” When you say this we translate it as “hick.” It doesn’t matter that Elko and Las Vegas have almost the same percentage of people with high school diplomas, or that approximately the same percentage are engaged in the professions — the Big City Reporter will be drawn to the same things as the Tourist, the quaint stuff. This attitude is part of what lost rural America for the Democratic Party during the Reagan years, and parcel of why the rural residents don’t much care about Big City Reporters or their papers.

One Big City Paper did a reasonable job of sticking to the issues in “Guess who’s coming to dinner and to work” Las Vegas Sun
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The Mexican Government has offered to pay medical costs for its citizens living in Nevada according to Governor Jim Gibbons, [RGJ] Now, if we could just find a way for American citizens living in Nevada to pay for health care?
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Power Surge: It was bad enough that AG Alberto Gonzales gets to decide who among us can be spied upon, and whose medical records, credit history, retail sales purchases, and emergency calls are mined for “data,” under the FISA gutting bill just passed by a panic driven Congress — but, now the Justice Department is “putting the final touches on regulations that could give Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales important new sway over death penalty cases in California and other states, including the power to shorten the time that death row inmates have to appeal convictions to federal courts.” [LAT] Another one of those little insertions into the Patriot Act gives the attorney general the authority to determine if a state has provided adequate counsel for a defendant.

One needn’t be an opponent of the death penalty to disagree with the thrust of this proposal. Questions such as those surrounding the adequacy of counsel have always been the province of the judicial branch of government. Once again the Patriot Act has been used as a vehicle for the expansion of Executive Branch powers — we don’t “need” habeas corpus? And, we don’t “need” judicial approval for searches and seizures? And, now we don’t “want” judges supervising the process by which cases move through the courts. There is a reason that things can become cumbersome in the judicial branch — haste is the enemy of truth. There is a reason we haven’t “fast tracked” the imposition of the death penalty — there is no way under Heaven to reverse it. However, the spirit of Abbot Arnaud-Armaury of Citeaux lives on in the radical right’s acceptance of the “slay them all and let God sort them” philosophy.

Thus much for lura novat curia.

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>Health Alert: Vice President shows symptoms of Gonzonesia

>Who knew Gonzonesia was contagious? First the Attorney General can’t recall, doesn’t remember, and couldn’t recall remembering a host of meetings, conversations, and memos. [YouTube link] Several members of the Justice Department were also afflicted with this condition. [TP] [TP] Now, it’s spread to the Executive offices.

The raging epidemic is indicated by this exchange between Larry “Soft Ball Question” King, CNN and Vice President Dick Cheney:

Q In that regard, The New York Times — which, as you said, is not your favorite — reports it was you who dispatched Gonzales and Andy Card to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft’s hospital in 2004 to push Ashcroft to certify the President’s intelligence-gathering program. Was it you? THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don’t recall — first of all, I haven’t seen the story. And I don’t recall that I gave instructions to that effect.

Q That would be something you would recall. THE VICE PRESIDENT: I would think so. But certainly I was involved because I was a big advocate of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, and had been responsible and working with General Hayden and George Tenet to get it to the President for approval. By the time this occurred, it had already been approved about 12 times by the Department of Justice. There was nothing new about it.

Q So you didn’t send them to get permission. THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don’t recall that I was the one who sent them to the hospital.” [via Think Progress]

Surely Pfizer, Glaxo Smith Cline, or someone must be working on the development of a Gonzonesia medication to at least mitigate the symptoms?

In a related matter, the White House is now no longer pleased with the technical fixes to the NSA espionage program [WaPo] proposed in the Schiff-Flake NSA Oversight Act (H.R. 11) or the Feinstein-Specter version in the Senate. The Oval Office now wants more authority to conduct warrantless wiretapping and other powers? [Mc-DK] Or, could it be Gonzonesia setting in and President Bush forgot about the bills already in the Congressional hoppers?

Of course it be that the White House would like to derail the Senate and House Judiciary Committees from further hearings into vote suppression, election crimes manual “cya” modifications, questionable election eve prosecutions, and/or finding out who compiled the list of U.S attorneys to be fired?
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Fight Gonzonesia? Click over to Impeach Gonzales.

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Filed under Alberto Gonzales, Cheney, domestic spying, NSA

>Harry Reid and the Chamber of Clotures

>
Should Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) expect even more obstructionism from the Senate Republican leadership in the wake of the request by members of the Judiciary Committee for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Alberto Gonzales? [TP] The AP reports that Sen. Reid is supporting the call by Senators Schumer, Feinstein, Feingold, and Whitehouse. Once again, instead of directly addressing the issue, the White House reverts to the fine art of diversion.

White House spokesman Tony Snow offered only that “…Attorney General was speaking consistently. The President supports him…” [WHPR] The talking point du jour appears to be “The Congress should be doing more important things.” Like pass the Defense Spending Bill? The President spoke to the ultra-conservative American Legislative Exchange Council today in Philadelphia saying, “We got troops in harm’s way. They need to exercise their responsibility and get this defense bill passed. There’s time to do it. I’ll hang around if they want me to to get the bill passed.” [WHPR] It’s interesting that no such expediency was urged by the White House for the passage of the FY 2007 Intelligence Authorization Act, (S. 372), and Senate Republicans blocked it on cloture votes [fas] for two days in a row. [roll call 130] [roll call 131]

However, now that it’s politically expedient to do so, the President is urging passage of more appropriations bills. To which Senator Reid replied: “The President’s call today to pressure Congress to quickly complete a defense spending bill that does not take effect until October is simply the latest example of the President shamelessly hiding behind our brave troops in an effort to distract attention from his failed national security record and failed conduct of this war. It is time for the President and the Republicans to do more than just say the right thing – it is time they worked with us for the good of the country and our security.” [SenDem] The Republicans might work with their Democratic colleagues, but please don’t bet on that because they have another strategy in mind.

The Two Prong Offense: The Republican supporters of the Bush Administration appear to be trying a two prong offense. On one hand they are utilizing more filibusters than any Congressional minority leadership in memory, projected to a record 153 by the end of the term; [McClatchy]* while on the other they appear to be trying to create another of their Manufactured Crises (appropriation bill passage).

The House of Representatives passed 8 of the 12 regular appropriations bills by June 24, 2007, but Mr. Bush threatened to veto 5 of them. The Senate hasn’t passed any of the 12, and is now working on its first, the Homeland Security funding bill. [NYT]

While Senate Republicans blocked the appropriations measures, Tony Fratto, White House spokesman, was busy launching more verbiage into the Manufactured Crisis court of public opinion: “Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, chided Congressional Democrats on Monday. “We’re concerned that no appropriations bills have yet been sent to the president,” Mr. Fratto said. “The number of legislative days available before the end of the fiscal year is dwindling.” [NYT] Nothing like a little manufactured crisis?

The Veto Threat: Add to this milieu another Presidential roadblock, the veto threat. Thus far the President has promised a veto on the SCHIP program because the tobacco lobby opposes higher cigarette taxes to pay for its expansion. [Reuters] One report indicates that the House Republicans who had been following the President’s lead may have reached an agreement with House Leadership on the reauthorization of the SCHIP bill. [OmbWtch] This doesn’t mean, however, that the bill is out of the woods.

This newly found Presidential interest in fiscal responsibility isn’t resonating with some observers. “Adam Hughes of OMB Watch, a non-partisan watchdog group that monitors the Federal Office of Management and Budget, said the analysis is accurate and fair and that it highlights Bush’s about-face on the issue. This president has never cared about fiscal responsibility until he feels like it can benefit him politically,” he said.” [CNS] And, “Experts at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute say Bush has done next to nothing to stop discretionary spending in the first six years of his term and is only doing so now for political expediency.”He’s saying ‘I only dislike big spending if it’s Democratic big spending,'” said Cato Director of Budget Studies Steve Slivinski. “The main motivation for these veto threats is not that [the bills] are too expensive, it’s that they’re Democratic bills.” [CNS]

The conferee stall: Yet another additive into this toxic legislative mix is the failure of Senate Republican leadership to appoint members to conference on bills already passed in the House and Senate. This tactic was famously applied to the Immigration bill in June, 2006. [USAT] The Senate Republican leadership blocked the appointment of conferees on the 9/11 Commission Recommendations bill late last month, and the appointment of conferees on the ethics reform package. [SenDem]

The rationale for this two prong attack (obstructionism + manufactured crisis) on Democratic bills may well lie in the need for the President and GOP members of Congress to find a way to re-cloak themselves in the mantle of fiscal conservatism for the 2008 election season. It certainly appears true that the GOP didn’t give a fig about fiscal conservatism when it dispensed with Pay-Go rules and ran up an unconscionable deficit in the last Republican controlled Congresses. But, now — well, “now’s different.”

Another source may be the intractability of the GOP itself. Having run on slogans designed to appeal to a narrow base of hard line right wing voters, the Republicans in the Senate have boxed themselves into positions from which they cannot compromise. For all intents and purposes there are no more “moderate” Republicans. Senator Reid, and Democratic bill managers, may wish to find compromise positions on legislation, but the President’s reliance on “Black and White,” “Us vs. Them” language intrinsic to his leadership style only serves to box his Senatorial allies in more stringently — a box Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) evidently finds comfortable.

The rest of the country can only be advised that this isn’t “politics as usual,” it’s the politics of polarity — having created a polar divide by demonizing opponents the Republicans now have no room to maneuver. The best they can muster is the current two pronged publicity campaign that neither serves their long term interests, nor that of the nation at large.

*The Senate has already seen 42 filibusters as of July 18, 2007, only seven months into the Congressional term. The previous record was 58 (1999-2002).

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Filed under Alberto Gonzales, Bush, Politics, Reid

>House Judiciary Committee Video Clip Links

>Not that I want you to go away, but there are Video highlights from the House Judiciary Committee meeting July 25, 2007 on contempt citations at The Gavel
Click over and listen to Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Brad Sherman’s remarks.

Speaker Pelosi’s comment: “...For the last six years, under Republican leadership, Congress failed to conduct its proper oversight role, resulting in fiascos such as the mismanagement of our Iraq policy, widespread corruption by contractors such as Halliburton, and the failed response to Hurricane Katrina.

Congress will act to preserve and protect our criminal justice system and to ensure appropriate Congressional oversight in all areas essential to the well-being of the American people.The Gavel

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>No Sunday Bass, instead — a Sunday Punch

>There are simply too many GOP candidates flipping and flopping over entirely too many issues this week to select only one winner of the Sunday Deck Bass Dubious Honor. How could a person decide between Rudy Giuliani’s questionable hiring practices, and even more incredible scheduling priorities, and Melting Mitt Romney’s attempts to sound like a serious candidate in the face of shifting positions signaled by the White House — which, itself, could get the award for trying to explain why it’s no longer part of the Executive Branch. Therefore, today DB offers, instead, The Sunday Punch. A second dubious and unwanted award for the individual who has absorbed the most blows for both his or her own incompetence, and the incompetence of others. This week’s award winner reigns in several categories, listed below:

The discrimination suit is pending: Guadalupe Gonzalez, chief counsel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, TX, with more than 20 years experience in immigration law, was passed over for promotion by U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in favor of an Anglo-male candidate with no immigration experience in 2002. In 2004 two more judgeships opened and each went to Anglo men with less expertise in immigration law than Ms. Gonzalez. [El Paso Times] HT to Huffington Post

The work product is not pending: National Archives official J. William Leonard requested that the Office of Legal Counsel help resolve the impass created when Vice President Dick Cheney refused to follow classification procedures. On June 4th an OLC lawyer said the OLC “had no documents on the matter.” When asked about Mr. Leonard’s letter Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the OLC was accurate because “Leonard’s letter had generated no work product. [Think Progress]

Sinecure Special: Rather than face confirmation hearing questions about his role in firing the U.S. Attorneys, and concerning his own absenteeism from his office as the U.S. Attorney for Montana, William Mercer withdrew his candidacy for the number 3 spot at DoJ last Friday. [TPMM]

Hitting the Exits: Department of Justice appointees who have resigned in the wake of the U.S. Attorney appointment scandal includes Kyle Sampson, Monica Goodling, Michael Battle, Paul McNulty, and Michael Elston. [TPMM]

An insufficiency of truthiness: Former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson told the Senate Judiciary Committee that AG Gonzales’ statements about the dismissals of the U.S. Attorneys were inaccurate, and that Gonzales had been repeated advised about the actions. [IHT] Former White House liaison Monica Goodling’s testimony also challenges the veracity of Gonzales’ answers to Congressional inquiries. [TPMM]

Wringing Wrongs from Rights: The Justice Department’s refusal to allow staff attorneys to offer recommendations in major Voting Rights Act cases came to light in December, 2005. [WaPo]

Almost 20% of the Civil Rights Division lawyers were released in 2005 in a program aimed at pushing out those who didn’t share the Bush-Gonzales views on Civil Rights. Experienced career litigators said the political appointees cut them out of hiring and major policy decisions, including GOP redistricting plans in MS and TX. Racial and gender discrimination cases handled by the division declined 40% from 2000 to 2005. [Boston Globe] [TPMM]

In 2007 we learned that acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, Bradley Schlozman, transferred out three women in the Civil Rights Division over the objections of their immediate supervisors, and ordered the supervisors to say they’d been removed for performance reasons. Department lawyers believe they were removed because Schlozman wanted to replace them to “make room for some good Americans.” [WaPo] The Department of Justice’s Inspector General and Congressional committees have indicated they will expand their inquiries into the hiring practices. [WaPo] (See also: “The gutting of the Justice Department” CBS News)

Playing I Spy: Gonzales, in 2006, defended the legality of the domestic spying operations of the National Security Agency. [CNN] However, on January 17, 2007 he wrote a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary saying that the program “will operate under the approval of the FISA court.” [TPMM] On May 15, 2007 the New York Times reported that internal controversy over the Department’s handling of the NSA domestic spying program produced the now infamous “Sickbed Scene” with AG John Ashcroft, and required presidential intervention to put off mass resignations.

Fibbing at the FBI: U.S. District Judge Royce Lambeth, former chief judge of the FISA court, recently told the American Library Association that the FBI could have avoided its mishandling of National Security Letters had a more centralized procedure been in place. [McClatchy] DoJ’s Inspector General Glenn Fine’s 126 page audit found that for years the FBI had under-reported how often it used National Security Letters, and that it mis-used them a significant number of times. [MSNBC] The Bureau’s mis-use of “exigent letters” and the lack of supervisory control over the use of Patriot Act provisions was enough to have the Director telling the public, “I am the person responsible, I am the person accountable, and I am committed to ensuring that we correct these deficiencies and live up to these responsibilities,” at a news conference. [WaPo]

Therefore, for his undaunted attempts to politicize his Department, demoralize his staff, illegitimize his operations, and to demolish, dismantle, and destruct any remaining credibility the Department of Justice ever had — and, to take a pounding for it on behalf of the fourth branch of government, hereinafter to be the Uber-Executive so as not to be confused with any administration established in Article II of the U.S. Constitution — The Sunday Punching Bag is awarded to Attorney General Alberto “Fredo” Gonzales.

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>Vote fraud more important than rape? Gonzales Department of Justice replaced attorney trying to reduce reservation crime

>When is it more important to prevent voter fraud than rape? Very possible answer: When you’re in the Bush Administration Department of Justice managed by AG Alberto Gonzales.

In 2004 Congress enacted a budget a section of which required the Department of Justice to submit quarterly reports on its efforts to reduce murder rates, domestic violence, child abuse and other violent crimes committed against Native Americans. [Indianz] $2.75 million was dedicated to the FBI Indian Country unit to assist with crime prosecution efforts. $7.55 million was to be used for the creation of a liaison office to help Native communities eliminate domestic violence.

There was a reason for this legislation. Between 1992 and 2002 the rate of violent crime victimization among Native Americans aged 25-34 was more than 2 1/2 times that for all other persons of the same age. The rates of violent crime victimization for both Native American men and women were higher than for all other races. [DoJBJS]

And, for trying to carry out the Congressional mandate to help Native Americans improve law enforcement activities to reduce these statistics — former Minnesota U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger was one of the 30 prosecutors the Bush Administration wanted to fire. He was also one of the U.S. Attorneys Monica Goodling thought should be removed for spending “an extraordinary amount of time” prosecuting crimes against Native Americans. [TP]

Heffelfinger’s reaction: “I did spent a lot of time on it,” Heffelfinger said of the American Indian issue. “That’s what I was instructed to do” by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Given the higher rates of violence suffered by American Indians, Heffelfinger said, the time was warranted, but it didn’t take away from other priorities. “I had to work hard, but I was comfortable with the mix of my local responsibilities and my Native American responsibilities,” said Heffelfinger, who oversaw his office’s investigation into the 2005 shooting that claimed 10 lives on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in far northern Minnesota.” [KARE]

That Red Lake shooting — in 2005 the second deadliest school shooting in the U.S., now unfortunately the third — the one about which the President had nothing to say until the Washington Post and other media outlets printed reports comparing his response to the Schiavo Case to the Red Lake Tragedy: “The fact that Bush preempted his vacation to say something about Ms. Schiavo and here you have 10 native people gunned down and he can’t take time to speak is very telling,” said David Wilkins, interim chairman of the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota and a member of the North Carolina-based Lumbee tribe.”

The silence from the White House was so obvious that “Jacqueline Johnson, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, called the White House on Thursday to inquire about Bush’s silence. “I wanted to make sure the White House is paying attention to this issue,” she said. “I wasn’t sure.” [WaPo] President Bush eventually commented on the tragedy during a subsequent Saturday radio broadcast.

For spending time dealing with the tragedy at Red Lake, and all the numerous and unrecorded smaller tragedies on Native American lands, the political operatives in the White House and the Justice Department put Mr. Heffelfinger on a list of those to be replaced by the likes of Rachel Paulouse, a close friend of Ms. Goodling.

So, the tragedy continues, compounding itself as the Bush Administration seeks to politicize the Department of Justice and denigrate attempts to solve problems on Reservations. Would it be too much to ask that the Administration spend an “extraordinary amount of time” noting that the BIA law enforcement section is staffed at just 31% of its needs? Or, take action regarding the fact that the violent crime rate in Indian Country is 101 per 1,000 compared to the national average of 41 per 1,000. Or, notice that Native American women are 2 1/2 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted as other women in America. [Helena Ind]

Republican members of Congress may whine that the “fishing expedition” into the firing of U.S. Attorneys is an inconsequential partisan activity. [TPmm] And, the President may groan that the “political theater” is being “drug out.” [TPmm] But, this issue illustrates exactly where the rubber meets the road.

When a competent prosecutor who is attempting to follow the mandate of Congress, and the instructions from the man who hired him (Ashcroft), to make progress toward achieving the worthwhile goal of reducing crime against Native Americans — is “rewarded” for his efforts by being placed on a firing list — then something is, indeed, very very wrong. Unless, of course, one believes that replacing such attorneys with ones more amenable to bringing phony voter fraud cases is more important.

In 2002 while a resident of a reservation was 2 1/2 times more likely to be a victim of a violent crime than the rest of the American population, Republicans weren’t focusing on the murders committed or the rapes perpetrated. They were exercised about the possibility that the Democrats were going to ‘steal’ the election with fraudulent votes from South Dakota Reservations. [TPM] It seems there was some voter fraud going on — six Republican party staff members and campaign workers in South Dakota resigned in October, 2004, over a voter fraud scandal. The GOP reassigned one of them, Larry Russell head of the South Dakota GOP-GOTV operations to Ohio. [TPM]

With this brief history in mind, it’s no surprise that Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison and Rep. John Conyers are asking for communications related to Heffelfinger’s replacement, and for documents about efforts to “enforce” voter fraud and ballot integrity laws in Minnesota. [WCCO] After all, it seems far more important to the Bush Administration to punish so-called voting fraud crime BY Native Americans than to address violent crimes done TO Native Americans.

What’s needed at this juncture, whether the Republican lock-steppers in Congress like it or not, is an “extraordinary amount of time” spent investigating who’s manipulating the Department of Justice into allocating resources to chase the phantoms of voter fraud while Native Americans are waiting all night for a BIA cop to respond to a burglary, rape, or murder 911 call.

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Filed under Alberto Gonzales, Crime Rates, Heffelfinger, Native Americans, Reservations

>A Goodling Bit of Testimony: Monica Goodling’s Questioners Clarify GOP Strategy

>The questioning of former Department of Justice White House liaison Monica Goodling is yielding yet another example of the Republican stonewalling strategy in regard to the firing of U.S. Attorney for Nevada Daniel Bogden and the others on the Administration’s hit list. While not much news has been generated thus far in Ms. Goodling’s testimony, what is becoming clear is that there are specific ways in which the Republicans are trying to protect AG Gonzales, presidential adviser Karl Rove, and by extension the President.

Weasel wording in the Witness Chair: To the “I can’t recall, I don’t recollect, I don’t remember if I recollected,” we can now add “on some occasions,” and “I didn’t mean to,” to the litany of rationales and excuses. Using the GOP definition, forthcoming means anyone who admits to some wrong-doing a vague number of times in unspecified circumstances. In fairness, Ms. Goodling does appear to possess a better memory than the other participants who are busy trying to throw each other under the Greyhounds; Mr. Gonzales’ hurling Mr. McNulty under the bus, Mr. McNulty tossing Mr. Gonzales under the wheels; and, Mr. Sampson tossing Ms. Goodling, McNulty, and Gonzales beneath the tread.

Did it too! Did it too! Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) evidently thinks Politics in the Justice Department is OK, Voter Fraud should be investigated (even though there doesn’t seem to be any), and Clinton did it — fired 93 judges (and kept all but three of them for the duration of his presidency). “Harvard was founded as a religious college” — (but seems to have a poor track record of producing right wing political hacks). Rep. Trent Franks (R) from Arizona adds effusive praise for the “courageous witness” (who initially took the protections of the 5th Amendment). The problem with this strategic element is that it doesn’t advance the GOP cause, it just takes up time. Implicit in the “Did it Too!” defense is that something untoward was done by the Gonzales Department of Justice in the first place, and effusively praising a reluctant witness neither confirms nor documents her credibility. Spending time asserting that there’s a War on Christians may launch some right wing radical radio hosts into spasms not seen since the Wars on Christmas and Easter, but doesn’t exonerate the Department of Justice from using strong arm politics to secure the cooperation of U.S. Attorneys.

Fishing for Red Herring: This line from various GOP committee members asserts that the “story doesn’t have legs” or “this isn’t important,” and/or “we have more important things to do.” Reps. Sensenbrenner and Trent Franks don’t see “any fish in the pond.” None of these contentions directly address the issues of politicization of the Department, the improper influence of political advisers in the operation of the Department, and the use of the Department as a tool for electioneering.

The Narrow Narrow Line: Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) set out the criteria for “impropriety,” that is that if the U.S. Attorney wasn’t fired to deliberately interfere with the prosecuting of an ongoing case then there was no wrong-doing. By extension — there’s nothing wrong with firing U.S. Attorneys for not being willing to prosecute phony voter fraud cases, or for not being motivated to prosecute equally phony and politically timed corruption cases.

What have we learned today?

Gonzales did see a list of attorneys to be fired.

Gonzales was at the November 27th meeting when the firings were discussed.

Gonzales has some more explaining to do.

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Filed under Alberto Gonzales, Bogden, Goodling, Justice Department

>It really does look like Bloody Monday

>Monday May 14, 2007 Paul McNulty, former deputy attorney general resigns from the Justice Department in the midst of Congressional investigations into the firing of at least 8 U.S. Attorneys. [MSNBC]

Monday May 14, 2007 Lanny Davis, the only Democratic member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board overseeing the implementation of the Patriot Act resigns saying the White House edited the recent report issued, and sought to delete a large section on FBI abuses of National Security Letters [MSNBC] Think Progress has a section of Davis’ full statement.

Monday May 14, 2007 a group of staff members in the Commerce Department want a special counsel to investigate Commerce Inspector General Johnnie E. Frazier (who is already being investigated by a congressional committee, the Office of Special Counsel, and the Council on Integrity and Efficiency) on allegations of fraud, contract abuse, wasteful spending, and retaliation against subordinates. [ABC] Think Progress

May 3, 2007 Julie A. MacDonald, deputy assistant secretary in charge of the Fish and Wildlife Service resigned after being rebuked for altering scientific reports [LAT]

April 6, 2007 Monica Goodling, Justice Department official, takes the 5th, and announces her resignation. [TPMM]

March 13, 2007 Kyle Sampson, chief of staff to Attorney General Gonzales resigns. [CNN]

There have been more:

Last December a 33 year veteran of the Justice Department Civil Rights Division left because she saw racial discrimination in the Civil Rights Division and the voting rights section in particular. [TPMM]

Two years ago Robin C. Ashton, criminal prosecutor at the Department of Justice, was informed that a promised promotion was being withheld because she had a “Monica problem.” Monica Goodling, that is, who believed the prosecutor was insufficiently loyal to the Bush Administration. [NYT]

and more….and more…and more…
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Nevada news roundup at Blue Sage Views

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Filed under Alberto Gonzales, Bush, Commerce Department, Interior Department

>DB uncovers Alberto Gonzales’ Playlist

>
There may be thousands of missing documents about the firing of Nevada US Attorney Daniel Bogden and his cohorts, and perhaps millions of missing e-mails, but the elves who keep the small light going in the little beacon have uncovered the contents of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ iPod.


Playlist 1

Promise You’ll Remember (Harry Connick, Jr.)
Moments to Remember (Four Lads)
Remember (Anthony Newley)
I Remember It Well (Lerner/Loewe)
I Promise to Remember (Frankie Lymons and the Teenagers)
It’s Easy to Remember (Rogers/Hart)
Try to Remember (Fantasticks)
I Remember When (Eddie Fisher)
Don’t Say You Don’t Remember (Beverly Bremers)
Memories are Made of This (Dean Martin)
An Affair to Remember (Frank Sinatra)
I Forgot to Remember to Forget (Beatles)
I Keep Forgetting (Michael McDonald)
I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know (Skeeter Davis)

(Recently Played)

I’m Sorry (Platters)
I Apologize (Aretha Franklin)
After I Say I’m Sorry (Frank Sinatra)
Hard To Say I’m Sorry (Chicago)
Who’s Sorry Now? (Snyder/Kalmar/Ruby)
I’m Not Too Sorry (Velvet Underground)
Don’t Know Much (Ronstadt/Neville)
If I Could Turn Back Time (Cher)

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Filed under Alberto Gonzales, Bogden, Justice Department