I'm just now catching up on the Sara Taylor non-testimony (the webcast is still available here). And I find her to be interestingly sharp--in that she backs off of some points that the Republicans would like to put in her mouth.
There's an exchange with Arlen Specter, for example, in which he prods her to say that Tim Griffin was very qualified to replace Bud Cummins (this happens just before and following the one hour mark). But she backs off the grandiose terms Specter wants her to use.
Specter: Mr. Tim Griffin was known to you from having served as the Deputy Political Director? Would you ... you're nodding yes ...
Taylor: Yes, he was known to me, he was the Deputy Political Director and I had known him for quite a bit longer than that.
Specter: Mr. Griffin had extensive experience as a prosecuting attorney, correct?
Taylor never answers his prompt with a yes answer, affirming that she agrees he had "extensive" experience. Rather, she starts listing his experience, which doesn't seem all that "extensive."
Taylor: My knowledge is that he had been a prosecutor, a federal prosecutor, for three years, in different jobs, I think two different jobs if my memory serves me correct. I also know that Mr. Griffin was a ten-year JAG officer in the United States Army [she's referring to notes] where he was also an Army prosecutor.
So Specter prods her again, to add to her description of Griffin's qualifications.
Specter: And he had served as an Assistant to the Special Prosecutor in the Cisneros, uh ...
Taylor: I believe that's correct.
Specter: So he had very substantial experience as a professional in the prosecution field.
Taylor: I believe he had significant experience.
But again, Taylor backs off Specter's qualification, choosing her own word, "significant" rather than his"substantial."
The exchange is all the more interesting since, in the following exchange, Taylor claims that Griffin is "exceptionally qualified." (The whole thing is clearly Specter's set-up to put the Griffin hiring in better light and refute McNulty's testimony that
Griffin Cummins [thanks folks] was fired solely to make room for Griffin, which may well be why Taylor agreed to testify.) Specter goes on to ask whether Taylor was closer to Griffin than McNulty--a sort of bizarre way of undercutting the outstanding allegations from McNulty that Cummins was fired just to make way for Griffin.
Taylor's refusal to use Specter's inflated language on Griffin is particularly interesting in light of the way she answers a question about Rove's and Miers' involvement in his hiring.
Tim worked in the White House, he worked with a lot of people, he worked with both the Justice Department because he had done a tour of service there, he worked with people in Arkansas, that a lot of people knew this individual, and a lot of people thought very highly of him. His character, his work ethic, and his skill, I think spoke very highly to who he was and so I don't think it would be ... I think it would be fair for the Committee to assume that there were a lot of people who knew him and an opinion of him and had the personal experience of working with him.
She finally refuses to answer whether Rove or Miers intervened with the replacement of Cummins, saying she has no specific knowledge of the fact. She does, however, repeat that everyone else thought Cummins was leaving and Griffin was a logical replacement because they all knew him.
Interestingly, when Specter asks who else knew Griffin at the White House, Taylor immediately talks about his role at the White House--working with the President and his top staffers.
Mr. Griffin worked at the White House, he was Special Assistant to the President, he worked with many members of the President's team, including the President's senior staff, he worked with the members of the counsel's office...
All of which seems to be Taylor's backwards way of, first, not lying about Griffin's "extensive" qualification as a prosecutor, even while being honest about his close ties to everyone between him and the President.