Just some utterly connected yet incoherent thoughts about Monica's loyalties.
A Downpayment on your Legal Defense Fund?
I whooped when Hank Johnson asked the question we've all been asking since it became clear that Monica had chosen some of the best-connected (even leaving aside his secretary the call girl) lawyers in DC:
Hank Johnson (GA): Who’s paying for your lawyers.
MG I intend to establish a legal defense fund at some point but haven’t done so yet.
Monica explained that she currently was paying John Dowd, but that she intended to set up a legal defense fund once she gets around to that.
Let's reflect on the how this looks, shall we? Rather than asking her donors to take a risk on their firewall, to trust in her performance and pay beforehand, as Libby's donors did, Monica effectively delivered the first installment of the service she offers donors before they pay. If well-connected Republicans aiming to stem the damage from the USA scandal believe she has served as an effective firewall, they may invest heavily in helping Monica retire her debt from Dowd's services. Or, if those same rich Republicans think she performed poorly, she may be in debt for some time. What pressure to perform well!
With that in mind, let's look at some other details from her testimony.
Condemn Lying but not Loyalty
In his first set of questions for Monica, Adam Schiff basically set her up to say that AGAG should be fired. He went through a long list of things Gonzales has done, and asked if those would be appropriate reasons to fire someone.
Schiff (NY): I'd like to ask about criteria. Let me assume for a moment that delegation of authority is a reason to be fired.
MG He could be. [she sees where this is going–perhaps to Mercer?] You'd look at the totality of circumstances in every case.
Schiff: If he removed someone from a corruption case, that would be a good reason to be fired.
MG I don't know.
Schiff: Bad morale might be a legitimate reason.
MG It'll be the totality of the circumstances.
When Schiff asks about perjury, Monica pauses, knowing she's about to hang out the AG.
Schiff: If Iglesias testified incompletely, that might be a reason to fire him. Certainly if someone gave incomplete testimony that would be reason to be fired.
[Pause, Monica knows where this is going.]
MG: It's not easy to give you complete answers.
But I was particularly struck by Monica's answer to the question
presumably related to Gonzales' push for the domestic wiretap program
over constitutional considerations.
Schiff: Lack of confidence might be a reason to be fired. And if a USA or other key justice official demonstrated an excess of loyalty, that might be reason to put them on a list.
MG I don't understand.
"I don't understand." Perhaps she answered that way because she
finally realized where Schiff was going (setting her up to agree that
Gonzales deserved to be fired). Or perhaps she answered that way
because she quite literally didn't understand the problem with putting
loyalty over the Constitution.
Saved by the Bell
That interchange was pretty damning to the Attorney General. Not long after, Artur Davis started asking Monica if particular statements from Gonzales were in accurate or not.
Davis (AL): no confidence resolution. Gonzlaes testified he never saw a list. Is that accurate.
MG I believe he saw a list.
Davis: If GOnzales testified he had never been briefed, inaccurate?
Davis: Any other inaccuracies?
MG I don't know if I saw all of it.
Davis: AG said no discussions of USA firings.
MG He was at November 27 meeting.
At this point, Monica's lawyer John Dowd interrupted because Monica was confused whether these were press conference statements or sworn testimony. All hell broke loose as Dan Lundgren tried to strike these questions from the record. Finally, that was tabled, but clearly Dowd and Lundgren recognized the danger of Monica establishing that Gonzales lied.
The interchange compares curiously with one that occurred after a longish (45 minutes?) break to vote. Here Davis is doing something very similar, getting Monica to label each of Gonzales' false statements as such. But note how much better she avoids doing so, searching in each instance for some explanation that excuses the AG for lying under oath. (I didn't realize this from watching on my computer screen, but Monica's lawyer had apparently moved to join her at the table at this point.)
Davis: Transcript of AG testimony, May 10, will you look at page 18. Look at portion marked AG Gonzales, I'm going to read it for the record. "I have not gone back and discussed this investigation with Sampson and others to protect the integrity of this investigation. I have not asked these specific questoins." Based on your knowledge, is that testimony totally accurate.
MG [pause] I don't know what period he is referencing. I assume AG stopped talking to people but it must have been after I left.
Davis Do you agree that it says that. Did AG have conversation with you re: terimination of USAs. Did you know you might be fact witness about that. Had there been substantial news coverage that you'd be a fact witness.
MG He had told me they were having conversations to see if needed to be a fact witness.
Davis: Page 17, Chairman Conyers. You are the one that we talk to regularly. Just tell me, how the USA termination list came to be. Who suggested putting these on the list and why. What Mr Sampson engaged in, toward the end, was presented to me as a recommendation. Was that sworn testimony fully complete.
MG I don't know that I see anything inaccurate in it.
Davis: Did you understand he was briefed. Was the AG's presence referenced?
MG he doesn't provide a date. That could be a reference to that meeting.
Amazing what a 45 minute coaching session can do to straighten out the limits of the witness' testimony, huh? All of a sudden Monica remembers that she can confirm that Gonzales lied to the press, but she must avoid confirming that he lied under oath. (She did something similar in response to questions whether Rove had emphasized the importance of DOJ telling a clear story on the USA firings--her forgetfulness about whether that line came from Rove grew as the day moved forward.)
Finally, though, there's the news that Monica's lawyer set up Artur Davis' questions about the Gonzales meeting.
So, just how did Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) know to ask all those probing, dramatic questions about the mid-March meeting between Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Monica Goodling?
Her lawyer told him to ask, that's how.
"Mr. Dowd certainly had conversations with staff. ... There were certainly some indications where Miss Goodling might go," Davis told reporters afterward.
Dowd may have done this as a soft proffer, a guarantee that there'd be enough in Monica's testimony to merit the immunity. And he may have directed Monica's testimony into topics that are somewhat damning to the AG, but not lethal. In any case, it raises interesting questions about whom Dowd is serving here.