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July 04, 2007


Kagro, I think the Judiciary Committee needs to bring in experts to do the questioning; their performances haven't been impressive in the last few outings. Otherwise they're going to get suckered, again. (They seem to be really easy to sucker. H*ll, Monica Goodling was able to do it to them.)

EW, do you know who the lawyers are that the the Committees are relying on, particularly in the House, where we have seen such discontinuity in tactics? If they are not on the same page, and can't reign in their less talented clients who seem to be letting face time in front of cameras trump good strategy, then this is a losing battle. The same theme appears every time, Republicans have a unified strategy, Dems are all over the place and look like amateur hour, and the clock ticks away.

Sorry, meant to ask you, Kagro

We, all Americans, are in debt to you for your dead-on analysis. I hope some bright Congressional aides pick this up and get their leaders prepared. Thanks for the heads up !!!

Kagro X - You are exactly right. These "friendly Goopers" just want it shuffled off to court so they are not browbeaten with it and shown up to be the hypocritical jackasses they are. They know full well that this will get lost and die a slow death in the court system regardless of how Jeff Taylor handles it. Hell, it might even make sense for Taylor to run with it a little to make sure there is just enough court action to prevent the Dems from availing themselves of other modalities. Somebody has to be impeached; it is simply imperative. Whether it is Gonzales, Cheney, Bush or all three. But we need desperately the unobstructed powers available through the impeachment process.

great post Kargo. well researched and compelling... obvious really... now that you've done all the heavy lifting.

Take back our country - mmm peach mint

If Cornyn is in favor of it, then you can be sure that the fix (with the DOJ) is in.

Your bet your ass the fix is in. The talking point is out there. Cornyn telegraphed what they want weeks ago. To hell with the courts, impeachment is the only play here. We're about to see who the men are and who the boys are. Are we going to get serious about the constitution or are we all just watching political theatre'?
Do we live in a republic or is it just for show? I'm sadly afraid it's the latter, and we'll know for sure in a month or two.

Well, they may believe the fix is in. But I can't imagine many happy conservative judges right now.

Sentelle and his buddies ruled and Georgie made crap of their ruling. Roberts' satanic court ruled that 33 months was peachy and Georgie ignored it.

If Georgie isn't checked, his accrued power passes intact to the next president. And not one candidate in either party has renounced a shred of it.

Sounds a whole lot like "Bring it on" to me. Lets keep them talking about it while team D figures out the next step.. It's good for the country. Thanks for a great post.

As Digby has argued elsewhere, mmmm peach mint is like everything else, fundamentally political. (Actually, Mao argued this.) A failed impeachment will only help the GOP even more. It's horrible but true.

Dems = Suckers

Horrible but "true?" Based on?

Everything "helps the GOP," it seems. Best plan: don't fail.

Beel - why would impeachment fail and how would failed impeachment help the GOP? You haven't given support for either of these claims. Why are we supposed to cower in fear of unsupported and unlikely predictions of negative outcomes of impeachment when the negative outcomes of *failing* to impeach are real, imminent, severe, and crippling to our Constitution?

Kagro X has shown by a review of the facts and historical context that we are likely walking into a trap by pursuing contempt charges only and by failing to put impeachment on the table.

Now, those who are against impeachment at this point bear the burden of proof to support their fearful predictions about the outcomes of impeachment. All I have heard so far are comparisons to Clinton, but I am here to tell you that the circumstances of a Bush impeachment would be totally different on every metric of comparison. Apples and oranges.

Bottom line - we are Constitutionally obligated to impeach and any movement towards impeachment will be met with widespread approval by the american people. Those who claim there are downsides to impeachment must support these claims or risk being labeled anti-impeachment concern trolls.

Not to mention that the USA for DC is Jeff Taylor--a clique member turned USA for investigating DC.

If a "pro" football team failed to anticipate influence blocks as many times as the Dems have been stymied by Rove & Co., one would have to entertain the possibility of a fixed game. It wouldn't surprise me if the Repubs' election strategy involved orchestrated accusations of Democratic incompetence for failing to stop their own criminal behavior ("We were just begging to be caught!").

How would the results of an unsuccessful impeachment be worse than wholesale abandonment by disgusted voters throwing their support to anyone but Democratic incumbents? What could be worse than what we have right now?

Thank you, *xyz. The downsides to _not_ impeaching far outweigh the fear of impeaching. I'm tired of (the GOP's) fear for fear's sake. I am fed up with lies. I happen to still believe in what my country was founded on and am desparate to see some integrity in my elected officials and in my government. Action, please! Impeach. Please.

I think widespread voter apathy will be the result of not impeaching Dopey and Darth.

Why should any of us respect the rule of law if Dopey and Darth can use the Constitution for toilet paper? Why waste time doing the court thing? It's stacked in their favor. Just get on with your duty and IMPEACH for God's sake.

I'll not contribute to any candidate that did not support impeachment, period. I'll vote, but I'll not invest my brain time or emotional energy helping limp wristed Repugnican Lites. If it's all about them keeping their jobs, they can figure that out without my help.

Wake me up when impeachment proceedings begin. zzzzzzz.

Chairman John Conyers Jr. (Mich.) announced a hearing for next week to explore what he called "the presidential authority to grant clemency and how such power may be abused."

"Taken to its extreme," he said, "the use of such authority could completely circumvent the law enforcement process and prevent credible efforts to investigate wrongdoing in the executive branch."


nolo fwiw

... the 2 1/2 years handed Libby was much like the sentences given others convicted in obstruction cases. Three of every four people convicted for obstruction of justice in federal court were sent to prison, for an average term of more than five years.

Analysis: Pardon Shows Worst in Politics
By Ron Fournier, AP

They should proceed with contempt of congress just to keep putting the bastards on record. Also, start impeachment proceedings against Cheney and Gonzo. Very hard for Pelosi to impeach all of them with herself in line of succession. Maybe to placate the senate R's they could work a deal to let a R who is not a pres candidate first be Veep then impeach chimpy and become pres. The R's are all so f*cking corrupt can't imagine who could be the next Ford though.

On second thought Cheney/Rumsfeld got their start in the Ford admin. Just kick em all out...

I would like to ask those who read this blog to consider writing to olbermann, bill moyers to see if we couldn't get a series of discussions to discuss the topic "what to do with our wayward president?" I would really like to see a discussion including senators, lawyers, constitution experts, to brain storm tools that our democracy gives us to confront our current crises. I would like impeachment to begin but I really do not want to see Iran/contra happen again. I feel the only way to avoid this is to begin our own liberal think tank and let the american people witness the discourse and join the discussion.

Of course I think this topic would be perfect for Moyers but would need publicity that Olbermann could provide. It think the discussion needs to be brought together quickly in light of Bush's latest decision.

Anyone else out there willing to ask for a forum such as this?? Please e-mail Moyers or provide other possible ideas. I want to hear the options, the pros and the cons. I want to the democrats to go into this with our eyes wide open this time using facts, past behaviors and the best and the brightest to pull together to save our democracy.

it's a trick.

as for respecting the rule of law, i'm on deck to be called to serve as a juror at the federal level.

i completely mistrust the system under gonzales, and if asked, i hope i have the courage to say so.

on the other hand, maybe some poor bastard could use my considered judgment.

the forms we are asked to fill out actually include having to reveal what our bumper stickers say, what groups we give money to, what subscriptions we get. [let's see: greenpeace, aclu, nrdc, dnc, ai, planned parenthood.]

hmmm, can revelation of web feeds on my browser be far behind?

btw, thanks for your great posts.

re: roberts' satanic court got quite a slam in today's main editorial at the nyts.

too bad the rest of the paper is filled with the writings of stenographers and cowards and collaborators.

John Dean hired Fred Fielding for the chore of the executive privilege game plan. An anticivil rights activist lawyer in Fielding's office was John G. Roberts, now Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Here is the bulk of a memo on Gorsuch as pawn strategized by Roberts in 1982:

The White House, Washington, December 23, 1982 MEMORANDUM FOR FRED F. FIELDING
SUBJECT: Amended Complaint in United States v. The House of Representatives

The Civil Division has requested comments by the close of business today on a proposed amended complaint in the Gorsuch case. It intends to file the amended complaint on Monday, December 27, 1982. There are three major changes from the original complaints:
1. Anne Gorsuch is added as a plaintiff...2. Demands for injunctive relief have been deleted...3. Paragraph 30 of the amended complaint is new. It presents the argument that it is impossible for Gorsuch to comply with the subpoena, because she has no authority to do so after having been directed by the President not to produce the documents. This argument is based on Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951), which held that a subordinate Department of Justice official could not be held in contempt for failure to produce documents when the Attorney General, through a regulation, had directed him not to do so.
The logical consequence of any argument based on Touhy v. Ragen is that the contempt citation should be directed against the President himself, not [Ms.] Gorsuch. Should the court agree with this argument, the logical step would be for Congress to reframe its citation as one directed against the President, and the privilege issues would then be presented for decision. This is implicit in the majority opinion in Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S., at 467, 469, and explicit in Justice Frankfurter's concurring opinion, id. at 471-473.

I am not certain that Touhy v. Ragen applies to this case at all: there is a significant difference between a lower-level employee following the order of the Attorney General and a Presidential appointee carrying out a Presidential directive. If successful, the argument in paragraph 30 would simply delay ultimate resolution of the basic issue, assuming Congress responded to a decision based on Touhy v. Ragen by reframing its contempt citation. And the downside is significant: a Congressional contempt citation against the President--the logical result of the argument in para.30--could be very politically damaging. With [Ms.] Gorsuch in the case there is at least a "buffer" separating the President from the dispute. I see no reason why the privilege issue cannot be decided in the context of a contempt citation against Gorsuch. We do not gain anything by reframing the dispute as one directly involving the President, and this is all that the argument in para.30 would do.

I strongly recommend that you object to para.30 of the amended complaint, perhaps in a call to Deputy Attorney General Schmults.
Reproduced at the Ronald Reagan Library

Last week a constitutional law expert had the following reflections on dissimilations by Roberts and Alito at their respective confirmation hearings, balanced against both nominees' actual performance once the senate approved their accession to Scotus.

First, the local US attorney in DC, as ew has highlighted; ultimately, a fallback position to arguing before a friendly Scotus.

In a related structural matter, I hope the Fourthbranch dispute receives congressional scrutiny. There could be a more efficient way the branches serve one another and the electorate. Meanwhile hearings and subpoenas are proving effective.

I'm inclined to agree with Katheleen. Not impeaching will cause widespread voter apathy. The dems have to understand that majorly stirring the pot, helps them grab control of the news cycle, and that's where they've been getting their asses kicked. Plus, big voter turnout is going to cut in Dem favor in a big way.

Go ahead Dems, don't do shit. Have everyone out here saying you are no better than them, don't give anyone a reason to show up for you.

And by all mean nominate the illuminati's candidate, Hillary.

More dismayed than ever,

I don't understand there even being a discussion on this issue. If you don't have the enough courage in your convictions to do the right thing, even if it is hard and frought with peril, why bother to even care? I try not to presume to speak for others, but from my perspective, anyone who is passionate enough to be reading this site, or the wonderful Digby, ought to have enough fire in their belly to take this fight to the malefactors through the process of impeachment. If you want accountability for what has happened and repair of the damage done, impeachment (of somebody) is the only viable process. As Ralph Waldo Emerson eloquently said, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm"! Cowboy up folks, it is time to follow up on what we have all been saying.

Just because the GOP wants to send it to the courts is no reason not to vote contempt. I think it likely there will be a bit of judge-shopping by USA Jeff Taylor. But again, get the GOP Senators on the record (or not) for contempt. If the USA doesn't prosecute, try direct contempt. If he does, force the judge to make a decision on the record. Do it over and over.

And I still see no downside in initiating impeachment against Gonzales. It ties him in knots and forces more votes by the GOP.

Meanwhile, the Senate leadership and DSCC need to keep hitting the GOP Senators for their obstruction in preventing an upperdown vote on virtually everything passed by the House. Pick a few particularly popular issues and bring them up every day. And keep them in session in August if necessary, with a lettle theater, to get them off their butts. Reinforce the image of the GOP as do-nothings who just take care of the rich. We could win 8-10 of those 22 GOP seats that will be up in 2008.

Mimikatz - isn't voting contempt necessary to "send it to the courts"? That was my understanding of the somewhat dual track process. Either way, I agree. I go so far as to say the committees should also simultaneously pursue the inherent contempt of congress provisions and send the sergeant of arms on over to the White House or where ever the non-compliant souls are. I know i am starting to get radicalized, but i am so tired of this stuff i could scream.

I wouldn't call on them necessarily not to vote contempt charges. But they need to be aware that sending this to the courts is a punt. It means waiting and playing defense until it gets punted back to us again.

Put it in the courts, and it becomes a topic that Republicans "can't comment on," because of "pending litigation." That's months and months of radio silence on the issue, ending in pardons and a sickening mixture of outrage and embarrassment for Democrats.

If they're not prepared to proceed with inherent contempt in the face of delays in prosecuting statutory contempt -- and let's face it, they won't be -- they're going into this with their pants halfway down.

Mimikatz... I especially like the idea of keeping Congress in session in August, since they think the Iraqi Parliament should stay on duty during August too. It's a goosey-gander thing.

Kagro X,

Thank you for your work. My view is rather blunt: Let's stop waiting around for the US Govt, Congress, and this likely stonewalling,. Time to go to the State AG's an initiate legal action outside Congress, outside impeachment, and outside the AG/Atty.

Let's have the State AG's prosecute Members of Congress, US Attys, and The President. The State AGs have jurisdiction in enforcing the US Constitution against US Attys assigned to their states' disciplinary boards; and can target Members of Congress in their states.

The days of "waiting around" for the US Congress and US Federal government seem fruitless. Time to accelerate the timeline, and remind the GOP: You -- as members of Congress and Party Membership and legal counsel -- don't have the luxury to hide this evidence until after 2008 -- The States retain through Amendment X the inherent power and right to prosecute a sitting President, legal counsel, Members of Congress, and others who have refused to fully assert their oath of office.

We the People need to stop playing nice with the US Government: The deferential attitude gets us no where. This Congress and US government are reckless -- They need to be prosecuted outside Congress and by prosecutors other than the US Attys. If the weather is favorable, perhaps the DoJ and US Attys might want to join the litigation.

Bad egg

Stranger danger

Dog days

A fool's paradise

Make a virtue of necessity

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