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April 06, 2007


EW - What is the specific basis of the refusal to produce by the DOJ? Some of the Administration's claims for executive priviledge as to White House documents are already specious; it would appear to me, that if it is the claim here, it is beyond the pale. Also, in light of the inherent recalcitrant nature of the Bushies, and their previously evidenced desire "to gum things out", I do not understand why subpoenas are not the FIRST avenue of discovery. Why mess around and permit the delay; just issue a subpoena duces tecum from the get go.

It's good to see the Senate Judiciary Committee take proportional steps to gain DOJ's compliance with the document subpoena.

If DOJ continues to withhold the documents and Congress withholds appropriations, I wonder if Monica Goodling stops receiving her AWOL pay or whether she continues to be compensated at last year's rate. hehe

Personnel issues, they say. They don't want those who weren't fired to be embarrassed.

To which I'm slightly sympathetic. But I'm guessing those USAs would rather know if they were being ousted.

Speaking of lessons learned ...

The longer it takes for information to come out and the deeper it's buried, the more we need to know it. This applies to everything that this administration has been up to. If they don't want us to see it, they reminding us that we need to see it.

Maybe previous administrations had good reasons for keeping some secrets. This administration's reasons and secrets are all bad.

bmaz--I tend to disagree, because it's been so much fun to watch this play out. They've had three document dumps so far (I think three--we may be up to four, but I only remember three), and it turns out they STILL haven't turned over all the requested docs. Now Gonzo's first question will be, "Do we have all the docs?" And the answer, of course, will be no.

Here's a fun thought, for the Plame crowd. Sampson says he brought up firing Fitz as a USA. I sincerely doubt it went the way he says it did (He brought it up once, and everyone just glared at him until he dropped the subject.), but does anyone doubt that they also tried to get Fitz fired as Special Prosecutor? And guess what: The minute that evidence appears that something like that happened, Fitz is obligated to investigate it as a potential obstruction of justice.

If DOJ's appropriation bill is not passed for FY 2008 (begins October 1, 2007) their funding will be at 75% of this year's budget amount.

Now, DOJ's appropriation bill was not passed by Congress last year, which means they're funded under a continuing resolution this year -- which will pare down the money even more.

I think this could be termed "diminishing returns."

If the redacted and withheld material truly involves "personnel" discussions on politically appointed, and subjected to confirmation, positions I agree that it is at least a colorable claim. In a normal situation, you really could have some sympathy for this postion; however, in the here and now, with this bunch, not so much. I have interacted with US Attorney's offices for twenty years and I have never, and I mean NEVER, heard of any mutiny that was even remotely analogous to that which occurred in Minnesota. That really must be the last straw leading to a formal independent investigatiion. Not only would any investigation by the justice department be conflicted because it would be investigating itself, the conflict is geometrically multiplied by the fact that so many of the individuals at issue are or were DOJ senior officials and direct acolytes of the Attorney General. It would be derelict, at this point, not to appoint a special prosecutor.

Frank - I agree; although (quite regrettably) I think Fitz might arguably have a conflict. I had not seen your post whild drafting my comment above, but we must have been on the same wavelength, because I thought about discussing the Fitz angle when I said a special prosecutor was necessary. I am not definitively saying Fitzgerald would have a conflict, but there is at least that appearance.

Now, keep in mind, when Chuck Schumer demanded that Kyle Sampson give him the names of those who weren't fired (though he had agreed he wouldn't ask for this information publicly), he had presumably already learned of those documents and what they included.

Don't know if it's connected, but it was certainly Schumer who pressed Sampson hardest and best on whether Rove ever voiced an opinion about firing Fitzgerald. Sampson evaded. And note that this is not quite right:

(He brought it up once, and everyone just glared at him until he dropped the subject.)

That is the impression Sampson sought to leave when he was questioned by Durbin about Fitzgerald. But Sampson was very careful to say that was one time he remembered - but not the exclusive time. And that is no doubt why he was so desperately evasive when Schumer pressed him on the matter, and in particular on whether Rove ever voiced an opinion about firing Fitzgerald. Sampson absolutely refused to say it didn't happen. All he said was that he could not recall it happening.

In other words, it happened.

And there's no reason at this point to think there weren't other conversations and considerations of firing Fitzgerald before (and perhaps after) the one 2006 conversation in which Sampson raised the issue with Miers and Kelley and got the look like he had just raised the stupidest idea ever - which he had.

I hope others are being questioned about this behind closed doors, and others will continue to be asked about it in public. I obviously have no idea what role if any the notion of firing Fitzgerald played in this whole mess. But it is certainly one topic among many others worth investigating.

Ding ding ding ding, Jeff.

You win, "Marcy's anticiapted answer for why the Dems are fighting for these documents."

Plus, there are likely to be interesting stories attached tot hose other three (or two) USAs that will clarify this whole situation greatly.

You win, "Marcy's anticiapted answer for why the Dems are fighting for these documents."

Gee, I can't imagine why. It's not like I've ever heard of this Fitzgerald guy or what he's been involved in before.

Oh yeah, I guess you have heard of him.

Though likely as not, BUshCo would want him fired for cracking down on corrupt Republicans in Chicago as much as their poor Libby. 2 strikes (at least) against him.

This is a proven play for the Bushies and their predecessors. Dragging things out and disclosing subpoenaed documentation in a slow drip lasting a year or more, with dumps timed with nothing more in mind than fending off contempt citations. It happened with James Watt's papers, with his successor Anne Gorsuch Burford, with the Rita Lavelle prosecution, with the Rocky Flats investigation -- everything.

This is their tried and true tactic, and every time it happens, Democrats for some reason pretend it's a case of first impression.

Kagro X - that is exactly what was behind my statement above. Just make a subpoena the method of the first request and get it on if they don't fully comply. It is both the right and duty of congress.

I think it's fair to say that the DOJ is broken, looks broken, works broken, and there's no reason to pay for it to stay broken.

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