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April 16, 2007


“Pleasure of the President” is a red herring.

If the Republicans think it is proper to hold Bush accountable if he exceeds his authority, I think that is a good frame of reference for evaluating illegal non-FISA wiretaps, and the use of torture.

The USA issue is not USE of power issue, but one of ABUSE of power.

The main topics on abuse are:

A. Use of DOJ to affect elections:

1. Georgia Thompson case
2. Dominici, Wilson calls to Inglesias

In this category, I would also put giving a Karl Rove opposition researcher, Griffin, subpoena power in Arkansas. We haven’t seen evidence of him abusing that position—yet—but the potential for him to abuse DOJ authority on behalf of Team Bush against Hillary is obvious.

B. Use of DOJ to help political contributors

1. Tobacco case
2. Foggo/Cunningham/Lewis
3. Maybe—probably—Abramoff related cases as well.

C. Weakening the DOJ through the appointment of “loyal Bushies” whose loyalty is to Bush or the Republicans first, and to the rule of law second. This undermines the DOJ mission and culture, by making clear that getting ahead (or avoiding punishment) means going along with the Bushie agenda.

The Michigan voluntary demotions may be a case in point.


Do you mean the Minnesota voluntary demotions? Or were there some in Michigan as well? Double bad then.

Sometimes, lawyers are to clever by half. To keep using a "protective" word, such as "specific," is such a give-away. People who have nothing to hide, don't talk like this!

TIME: conservatives say fire his ass.

Conservatives to Bush: Fire Gonzales

Lectric Lady:

Yes, MN, sorry.

I don't think "they knew this was wrong" is exactly the right phrase. More like, they knew that it was against the law. It's only us weak-minded liberals who think that the executive branch has to obey the law.

I don't think I've heard Bush use the word specific in reference to conversations with Rove.

This is my general understanding of the lay of the land in this instance. The independence of the USAs stems from the fact that they are officers of two branches of government. The scope of their duties to the Executive Branch stems from the authority to bring actions in "good faith" based in law and fact on behalf of the "People of the United States". The supervening check of this Execitive authority is Congressional. The checks on the abuses of "good faith" in the Judcial Branch are exercised under the judicial principles of "prosecutorial misconduct." Clearly in addition there is a privite cause of action for proceeding with a lack of "good faith" in an "abuse of process" claim.

The President has no authority to pursue prosecutions that are not supported in "good faith" in fact and law. "Good faith" here clearly creates a duty of inquiry and diligence. A merely political claim without more certainly does not rise to this standard, in rubric of administrative law, it is a decision that falls beyond the discretion of the Executive, at the very least, for being arbitrary and capricious. At worst, as Albert Fall, suggests this is an "abuse of power" fully congnizable by Congress.

"the rubric" even

in addition to the neo-con tortillas left over from the iran-contra party,

bush has some personal resources.

i would guess he learned plausible deniability about the sam time that he learned to walk and talk.

this is what happens when your grandfather was a u.s. senator and your father was ambassador, cia head, party head, vice-prez, and prez.

i would guess that, between the two of them, bush and cheney make up a combo that knows just about every political, legislative, and bureaucratic trick there is to play.

which would be o.k. if, like lyndon johnson, they wanted to put these dark arts to work for the greater public good.

but they don't.

I understand plausible deniability for Bush, but isn't he throwing everybody else, including Abu G, under the bus?

During "Travelgate", the Republicans (and the WH press corps) made geat hay out of the firing of Billy Dale because it was done allegedly at the behest of Hillary Clinton. That Dale served "at the pleasure of the President" was irrelevant if Bill Clinton didn't personally pull the trigger.

Similarly, if Bush is claiming that he didn't personally fire the USAs because they displeased him, then his subordinates presumably cannot invoke the defense that they serve at the pleasure of the President. While I haven't heard Schumer or Leahy address that issue directly yet, I would presume that we'll get there at some point.

Am I the only one here old enough to remember the phrase repeated most often during the Senate Watergate hearings:

I have no SPECIFIC recollection at THIS point in time.

So: "Fire the SOB, I don't care how!" Would be pretty non-specific.

tomj @ 12:11

Or, historically speaking:
'Will no one rid me of this man?'

PJ Evans @ 12:15 -

"Hey Al, just do whatever Karl says."

No one specific. Because he didn't have a specific person in mind or couldn't remember their name? "Yea, Fredo. Get that b**ch in San Diego, what's her name? And that Swabby in New Mexico, the guy taller than Tom Cruise, who was disloyal enough to put the real Jack Nicholson chacacter in the slammer for that Code Red." Frat boy, "Get the wife" lingo, may legally not be "specific", though I doubt it. It amounts to the same thing, and the same disgust for those who put doing their jobs above covering his backside.

AlbertFall - GREAT framing at 8:45 above.

I'd add to "C" another effect of placing incompetents in the USA jobs, the lack of prosecution of "real" cases: drug lords, that sort of thing. Thus three different effects of this:

**not prosecuting "political" cases (cases that would lead to your political pals)
**prosecuting phony cases for political gain
**not prosecuting "real" cases (since time is spent on 1 & 2 above).

"specific" is one frame, and "improper" is another. I do not like the "improper" frame. I would like it to be resisted.

I don't think I've heard Bush use the word specific in reference to conversations with Rove.

Yep. 'Specific' is one thing to pick up on. The emphasis on conversations with Gonzales is another. Because if it's going from Bush to Rove to Sampson (or Bush to Rove to Jennings to Sampson) then it's completely avoiding Gonzo.

Plus, 'Improper' is just an attempt for Gonzo to say 'if you can't catch me on this one thing, I'm fine'. Bullshit to that.

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