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May 24, 2007

Comments

There appears to be some fragmentation inside both Justice and the WH. Is the WH actually trying to pressure Gonzo to resign with Goodling's testimony? Certainly, Dowd wasn't there to do Gonzo any favors. I find this half-exculpatory and half-damning testimony really confusing. Are we looking at an inside-the-WH factional power struggle, with the fracture lines being Cheney-Addington versus the Texans? (Neocons versus Rednecks?) I find Goodling's testimony more obfuscative than revealing.

...and the New York Times, instead of saying that MG testified that AG lied, said she "suggested that his testimony may have been flawed." Jeez, why do they feel that they have to tiptoe around the fact that *everyone* knows by now...that AGAG LIED??

How is it possible to get to any truth if witnesses are gagged by their attorneys? I've seen a few trials and I've never seen this kind of coaching- sometimes damage repair- but never coaching. It appears that Congress needs to have their own prosecuting attorneys.
-from your fan:)

A few things here. First, please dear Chuck Schumer, invite Monica over to your place...Two, the Schiff questioning really bugged me b/c I immediately figured out that he was setting her up to take down Gonzo. It is a good idea but it could have been done so much better so that even a Regent grad wouldn't have seen through it so quickly.

IANAL and reading EW each day reminds me of how limited and sad my little brain is but if I were questioning MG and this issue of did AGAG testify to that or say it to the press, I would say, "So it is ok for the Attorney General to lie to the American people, just as long as he doesn't do it under oath?" That way, we establish that Abu is a creep even if he didn't break a law.

Finally, I would have probed more about her contact with Scott Jennings. If he was the one giving her the orders, where would she assume he was getting his orders from?

I found the whole thing somewhat maddening but not totally unproductive. And let this serve as a lesson about Ralston, no immunity without a proffer, otherwise it is a "pig in a poke".

"it raises interesting questions about whom Dowd is serving here."

Cheney? Rove? Mellon-Scaife?

all of the above, yet neath it all lies Lucifer, wearing Bush's empty-headed body...

So, you see, I see, we pretty much all see MG showcasing her wares, however much coached. Why can't the MSM see that? Or would that fall into the category of gossip? Not fit to print, ya know.

MG testimony adds more sticks to the AGAG funeral pyre. We have heard all along that AGAG has a constituency of one. Even Shrub must see AGAG as a liability at this point. We also know that Shrub ignored the questions as to whether he personally ordered the midnight visit to Ashcroft's bedside. Just how gingerly must this firewall be constructed to insure that Gonzo doesn't do a little implicating of his own? (not that it matters all that much -- 911 changed everything, etc.)

Though the repubs wish this would all go away, it just keeps unravelling more. Seems like McNulty will now need to up the ante, and on and on. Until Gonzo resigns, the stink just grows. The longer he waits the more likely he and others are risking criminal charges -- perhaps?

Not to be too picky, but Dan Lungren's name has no "d" in it.

From the same article "Conyers said the committee's next task was to call McNulty before the panel for public testimony."

With Ken Mehlman as a partner and his rainmaking reputation dependent on bringing in a soon to be horde of former Republicans charged with violating the law or their oaths of office, my guess is that Dowd is serving the Republican Party.

Heretical, I know. A lawyer's job is to serve his/her client irrespective of who's paying the bill. Presidents are supposed to uphold the Constitution, too, and use power wisely.

Monica had already "made her bones" at the DOJ. Her testimony was a partially successful attempt to move up the ladder from "button girl" to capo regime. She may have done it, I doubt it, but I suspect she earned a considerable chunk of her lawyers' fees while trying. I note that she's not "paying" her lawyers, but will pay them. Akin Gump probably hasn't submitted their first bill yet and probably won't until after her "legal defense fund" gets funded, my guess is privately, unlike the online marketing used by Libby.

But you are absolutely spot on when noting that Monica was there to serve the President as the earthly incarnation of her lord and master. And that's why Bush hired another 150 Regent grads just like her.

These show trials are getting boring. And that is what it is--as long as unprepared, uninterested (Maxine Waters? Who is too damn smart to excuse the lame performance of yesterday.) members of congress get to drive the hearings, this is what we will get.

And as far as I could tell, the Republicans are still basically running the judiciary committee--with their rules which cannot be bent or broken by the chair. Strict 5 minute question periods in which the witness is free to ramble all over the place under the guise of "allowing the witness to give complete answers" which is to say that they can bs until the clock runs out (and it is obvious that every one of them has recieved extensive coaching in this regard) along with the allowing the rethugs to use their five minutes to go on and on and on about their favorite pet peeve (take your choice: Clinton or Murtha).

Shameful--really. All of it. If the Dems are really serious about oversight, they need to find a way to depose the witnesses in a public fashion which actually gets to the truth of things.

There's little doubt in my mind about who will pick up the tab for Monica's legal fees. Ashcroft and Pat Robertson have very deep pockets and will take care of her. I think the comment about setting up a fund is completely bogus.

They need to put a shock collar on Lungren and zap him every time he hollers "point of order" in order to shut up a witness who's about to tell the truth...

Lungren ought to just be honest and say, "Point of order, this witness is about to tell the truth and we can't have that!"

Lungren's pobviously been charged with keeping Goodling's Pandora's Box from opening-up completely. Ther is no other explanation for his outbursts, he's like "truth censor" alarm that goes off loudly whenever a witness gets too close to the truth.

A friend was reading me comments about Monica's testimony from C&L.
Someone wrote that they heard Issa say he'd talked to the WH about Lam.
If he did that - I haven't had time to go back through the liveblogging yet - can that be used as another opening? (Not that he'd want to testify under oath, but he needs to be asked about it that way. Being in Congress doesn't mean he's going to tell the truth on anything.)

PJ

Oh, he definitely did. But that's not necessarily a problem. It's one thing to talk to Bush about immigration prosecutions and another to talk about a particular case.

Just a couple of random thoughts. The attorney fees line of questioning was a welcome bright spot that late into the proceedings, but not pursued very effectively. Goodling "retained" Dowd while still employed at the DOJ and maintained that status for some period of time. I have personally always had a problem with this. At a minimum, forbearance of fee collection by Akin Gump during this period (and the hours spent getting up to speed and acquiring a proper document file would have been extensive) is a gift in the amount of interest on the unpaid balance at the legal rate. Second, it had a strong odor of impropriety. What knowledge of all these machinations did Gonzales and/or any other Administration authorities have? Who arranged the hookup of Goodling with Akin Gump/Dowd in the first place. Lastly, the question of whose interest Dowd is serving is as germane now as it ever was. I have had this question from the outset. Dowd has by no means tanked Goodling in favor of firewalling, very far from it; however, if the maximum well being of Goodling were the only goal, that hads not been served. Multiple masters are clearly being served by Dowd's representation.

The Real Side
The Man Who Got Iglesias
Starting at the bottom of Karl Rove’s food chain
By Jim Scarantino

alibi.com

During the "shuffle" of the quick recess yesterday, and the comments which MG came back with afterwards; I began asking the same questions EW. Now I am asking, "If Dowd got her immunity but her answers are minimal, Why?" The natural conclusion is that she is not receiving full legal representation- others' interests are being protected under her representation. Her answers are lacking in full content and admission that which her immunity would allow. Then the conclusion is: she is in collusion as well as her attourney. That collusion had to happen as soon as she knew she would be a source to question. Can the Committee seek legal malpractice? It would be great for any lawyers to weight in on these thoughts... If she is in collusion, what does that do to her immunity? If her attorney is in collusion, what does that do to her immunity? Maybe just some crazy thoughts...

EW -- thanks for clearing something up for me. Yesterday the camera continued running on C-SPAN3 after the hearing concluded. A bunch of reporters were asking Davis questions, one in particular tried to pin him down on whether AGAG lied under oath and whether he had engaged in witness tampering. Davis proceed to weasel in a spectacular fashion about how he wasn't going to make any allegations of criminality (then, what pray tell had he been doing in the hearing) but that one ought to set a higher standard for the AG than whether or not he broke the law. It was shocking really. In the hearing, he seemed to be the one most able to get useful testimony. Then he completely backpedalled afterwards. Seems to me that Dowd isn't the only one serving two (or more) masters... Given Davis' sterling Blue Dog credentials, it makes one wonder...

She was also a fairly transparent liar. Poker would not be MG's game. WHen talking as herself, a driven, hyperconfident type A, and all she was concealing was her fundie fanatacism. When giving the answers she was worried about, she frequently looked down, shifted her eyes, stammered, and gave slow, undirected answers. When on firm ground (real memory) she tried to filibuster with an excess of information. When she was worried about her answers, she sometimes tried and failed to filibuster with restatement or rhetorical flourishes, but more frequently just looked away, hesitated, then sort of vomited the talking point up in a single breath, and stammering a few assitional comments to make it seem genuine.

Ohmigawd, have you seen this?

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4594


Could this be real? What can we do to give this story legs?

Someone is surprised that the Christian Right can indeed come up with female suicide bombers?

She lies like a rug, but then that's the #2 requirement for being a Republican - after being able to pass the IQ test low enough.

Will someone answer this question please? In Monica's opening statement she referred to "The White House Judicial Selection Committee", what and who the heck is this?

Also, do not be fooled by Monica. She is trained as an attorney and she was very good at not giving up alot. Like there is plenty of wiggle room for Gonzo and the conversation they had in March 07.


I assume there's no law against someone telling Monica that they'll help her with her legal bills 'if they are in a position to do so'.
(eg - not in jail, forced to resign, preoccupied with fighting a lawsuit of their own etc)

Is there?

Cos its a very natural inference that that's what has happened.

Of course, it's another matter to say that it 'avoids the appearance of impropriety'...

By the way the last time I looked it up with or without immunity, admission of a crime is grounds for disbarment.
Anyone know where Monica passed the bar so a complaint can be filed?

EW, I think Issa's involved in a lot of things that are at best questionable, and some of them are tied to the WH, and possibly Cunningham and his buddies. I also think he was being reassured that she was about to be out of there.
(We had that #$%^& recall, which he was driving until he suddenly dropped out, which I heard was right after - ta-dah! - a call from the WH.)

While at that same friend's place Jeffrey Toobin on CNN called Monica a 'seventh-rate lawyer from a fifth-rate school'. I wouldn't have said that; she was doing exactly what she was supposed to do: take fire for Gonzo and Rove.

I think Dowd is serving Rove. After this admin is done and gone, Rove will still be looking to run the show. He's allowed leaks that indicate he wants Gonzo out, so letting Monica's testimony pin it on AGAG and McNulty takes the spotlight away from him.

Didja notice that when naming people who were present at various meetings, Monica referred at least twice to "someone else, I'm not sure who, maybe Will Moschella." There was a repeated spectre of a ghostlike figure who hovered around meetings unnamed and casually mentioned after listing the names of everyone else. I'm pretty sure our mystery figure is Rove.

In the end, he can put all the blame on Gonzo, Cheney, even Bush himself, and live to steal another election...

Jazz - That would be the State of Virginia; and Goodling's "training" as an attorney is flawed and incredibly weak, at best. Bill in Turkey, that would be against the law if it is a gift while she is a DOJ employee.

BMAZ, thank you for the info. By the way why is there no discusion of the Monica nugget about Griffin's "caging"? This is a felony and should have been or needs to be explored. This line of questioning could open the doors to Rove and company.

Come on, like there has ever been a momnent' doubt who Dowd is serving. It was absurd that the GOPer on the committe were able to pull a 45 min break to decide there should be no break. It all came out the same an Monstiga's lawyers had time to retrain her on how not to tell the truth, which was all they wanted at that moment.

So obvious she was doing her job, and I don't buy this I'm paying my attorney bit for one moment. There's a lie in there somewhere. Next time I'm in deep shit, I'm going to call Dowd and see if his $600 an hour ass will work for me on voucher for a while. Biggest BS answer of the day.


bmaz: Yes, sorry, I was unclear. I know she couldn't *receive* a gift of that sort while a DOJ employee. (but only cos I lurk obsessively at tnh fdl and tpmM, and it was discussed in early April :-) )

Could someone make her the offer while she was at DOJ with payment to come later? Could they make it, conditional on her resigning form DOJ? Could they indicate that such an offer might be forthcoming *if* she were to resign?

And - which is what I really mean to suggest - would there be anything illegal about making the offer once she resigned? If not, why not?

(I mean, it would obviously be deeply corrupt. But actually illegal? It's not as though it would be a straightforward case of suborning perjury - or would it)

Ianaloneaa

Hey guys,

Avenging Angel posted a link to Brad blog above and I don't know if anyone paid attention, but I'm pretty sure it's a doozy. the address again.

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4594

EW, BMAZ, orion, PJ, rayne - any of you guys seen this?

I think this warrants a new post all by itself.

Jazz--my husband who is a member of the bar in the state of VA was asked by me this morning to file something asking that MG be disbarred. He did tell me that you can commit certain crimes and remain a member of the bar but he said crimes that involve dishonesty tend to be grounds for disbarrment.

Bill in turkey - Absolutely not illegal; unfortunately, goes on all the time. But, at least in my opinion, even the agreement by Akin Gump to not collect fees incurred until such time as she was no longer employed by the government is a "value" or gift that is improper legally during the time that she was, in fact, still employed by the DOJ. It absolutely reeks of impropriety.

Jane S. - Be nice to your husband; he is going to get at least minor flak from some direction for his worthy effort!

Jane S. Thank you for filing the complaint. Your Husband is correct. I think if everyone started filing complaints at the state bar agaist thse attorneys this will help start problems for them that they did not count on. Lets see how they feel without the bar license Dishonesty goes to the core of being an attorney.
I wonder if Gonzo understands this?

bmaz

'But, at least in my opinion, even the agreement by Akin Gump to not collect fees incurred until such time as she was no longer employed by the government is a "value" or gift that is improper legally during the time that she was, in fact, still employed by the DOJ.'

OK - yes, I see how you could argue that. Thanks.

(Still - suppose they did their billing monthly? She didn't stay at DOJ that long after pleading the 5th, did she. Or is monthly billing too implausible to consider?)

Improper anyway.

I think not enough is being made of impropriety here. Here are a couple of talking points that I'd have thought ought to make good follow ups to the Comey/Davis 'within the law is too low a bar for DOJ.'line.

a) So Gonzales delegates hiring and firing power in the DOJ to someone who doesn't know (and doesn't find out) the relevant law.

Doesn't say much for his management skills, does it? Looks like you could say 'the office was in disarray'. (h/t Adam Schiff)

a2) and then she enters into an apparently improper legal arrangement for w. her lawyer? Not good for morale to be responsible for that if you're the boss of a bunch of lawyers who themselves need to avoid impropriety in order not to lose their licenses.

b) In fact, you'd think that if USAs qua lawyers needed to avoid the appearance of impropriety, it would be reasonable to hold their boss - the AG - to the same standard. So how can someone responsible for the Ashcroft ambush/involved in Lam's firing manage DoJ effectively.

c) Of course you do think its important that DoJ be run effectively, don't you? Party of law and order, no?

(Apologies to ew for going increasingly OT in this post)

Jane S. - Be nice to your husband; he is going to get at least minor flak from some direction for his worthy effort!

Which is admirable. Surprising, though, that Dems haven;t been able to find a bunch of people to do this and take the flak collectively?

Or would that just be too partisan for any reputable member of the bar to get involved in?

Bmaz and Bill in Turkey. The fact that Akin Gump would have made the arrangements you discussed would be a violation of their code of ethics. Dowd would surley know that a "gift" of his time to a government employee is wrong. This would also be subject to a filing of a complaint with the state bar association. You may say this is going at them in a small way. However, the possibility of losing one's license and therfore your means of making a living will sober you up very quickly. It is another thorn in their side.

Jazz - I understand your point here, but can't really go that far myself. If Akin Gump has some edict or code of conduct that specifically prohibited this I would be surprised. As a lawyer. trust me, the prime directive is simply to accrue billable hours and see that they are collected at some point, thats about it. I appreciate your desire to make somehthing happen, that is a good thing we need much more of, but this would be a thin, if not spurious, bar complaint.

Akin Gump could not offer Goodling, or imply an offer of, free legal advice while she was a Justice Dept employee.

They could legitimately agree on when bills would be sent and on what interim bills would include. There is considerable wriggle room. Big firms that specialize in high-profile clients, with whom discussing the mechanics of being paid might be considered unseemly ("the tradesmen's entrance is in the rear"), include in their hourly rates the usual processing and collection costs. Interest is rarely charged, even if permitted, and wouldn't accrue until the bill had been sent and remained unpaid.

It is very bad marketing for firms to sue their clients for unpaid bills; it happens, but opens up a real can of worms, including the implication that the service wasn't worth paying for. Also, if the firm wasn't smart enough to make sure it got paid, how smart will it be in defending or prosecuting your case?

Based on the public record, Aking Gump knew Goodling couldn't possibly have afforded Dowd, much less an Akin Gump team. She has a large one. Akin Gump obviously ran an internal calculus that she would raise funds from ardent GOP supporters, a la Libby, or a book deal, etc., and decided what rates they would charge and when they would submit their bill, which could even be at the end of their representation.

earl

Akin Gump could not offer Goodling, or imply an offer of, free legal advice while she was a Justice Dept employee.

OK - got that. 'imply an offer' adds something that I was fishing for.

'when they would submit their bill, which could even be at the end of their representation.'

How unusual would this be as a way of billing?

BUT anyway: I'm not so interested in offers from Akin Gump. I'm really interested in highly conditional offers from individuals who might be mentioned in her testimony to do what they could depending on their circumstances when the bill became due.

bmaz reckons that's not illegal. (and that its regrettably common)I reckon that its happened here. We both think it would be improper.

I think the Dems should be making hay over instances of impropriety.

"Dowd's Questions
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.

"[snip]

""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."

There's simply too much of the usual uncritical conspirabunk readings-in and speculating. Davis said nothing about when Dowd had the consversations with Davis/Committee staff about this issue. There were certainly such conversations when the Committee was negotiating with Dowd about the immunity deal. That is when there would have been a proffer; in its place Dowd gave an outline of what Goodling could provide as useful evidence.

And too much of the typical "gotcha" effort of false "argumentation": start with a wished-for conclusion, then "reason" backward from there in search of "evidence" which will seem to support the conclusion. Ignroed is everything which doesn't fit that effort.

And example is from the February 2006 testimony by Gonzo. Schumer asks him about reports that thee was disagreement about the _NSA_ program. Gonzo responded that there wasn't disagreement about that program -- then _volunteers_ that there was disagreement about a different program, which he refuses to identify. The presumption is that Gonzo is lying to Schumer about the NSA program -- and the _volunteered_ information is ignored because it irrelevant to that presumption.

Then Comey testifies that there was disagreement about a program _he too refuses to identify_. Yet the presumption that it was the _NSA program continues, so a glaring fact he revealed is accepted as to fact, but ignored as to implication --

Among those who threatened to resign was FBI Director Mueller. So far, I'm the only one I know of asking an obvious question: Why would the FBI Director threaten to resign over a program _outside_ the FBI?

Would he even _know_ about the existence of a program in the NSA?

Earl - You are exactly right about how a good attorney's office handles this. My continued complaints on this narrow point have never been with Akin Gump, they are doing that which they do. Nor are they with Goodling as much as you might think, but really against Gonzales, Bush etc. They knew Goodling was a goner, they knew she was getting the benefit of Dowd's services without paying for them, and yet they blithely allowed her to milk the taxpayers (without apparantly showing up for work or doing any work) for an extended period of time. Another brazen crock of dung from a cabal of criminal serial plunderers.

JNagarya

Uh, first of all, I very quickly came to the conclusion that Gonzales--parsing or not--was talking about a second program. It doesn't mean his lies, in 2006, saying that Comey would have nothing to add about the events surrounding the NSA program, are any less deceitful. Not perjury, but utterly deceitful.

As to the FBI. Um, who orders NSA to do wiretaps? Um, FBI. Furthermore, there is an abundance of evidence that one of the things pertaining to the program was the improper introduction of NSA evidence into trials. And finally, there's something called 9/11, which changed the scope of FBI work. So you can't make generalizations about NSA and FBI being unrelated.

As to Dowd and Davis, I also did not say when that conversation took place. By saying it was a "soft proffer," I'm saying precisely the same thing you are. But it is fairly clear that there were some things--notably support for a perjury charge against Gonzales--that Lundgren and Dowd both interrupted. That is clear--you may provide your own explanation for why the GOP Rep and the lawyer were seemingly operating off the same page.


I think, as lizard points out, that this whole manipulation of the DOJ is preparation for the 2008 election. Caging is the key as Greg Palast is telling us. http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4594

Well, it would seem that Monica isn't as dumb as some would have us believe.

She got immunity!

For that the Dems got some controversial statements that essentially bring direct wrong doing back to Monica's desk, but she got immunity.
Some of the statements alluded to possible problems for other people, but then not really the "dastardly villian" Karl Rove.

As for her stay at DOJ, a few weeks, after taking the Fifth, I think that was so she could get vested. I discussed this before. Probably there was enough inertia in the system that even if they moved to boot her, she could have stayed a while.

As for her "fancy" lawyer. I like that. Christy over at FDL called him that. Possibly Monica gave him a simple minimum retainer, to buy the time while she was still working.
They will work out the money details later, as the case becomes clearer, Monica's support comes out of the woodwork, and her book deal is finalized.

I will leave it to the noted lawyers to collect their fees. They must have some confidence.

Or heck maybe they will end up working pro bono, saving a little lost damsel who went astray, while walking through the forest of political shenanigans.

And finally, as to her manner, of course she was nervous. Testifying before the world is not something she usually does, even though she was her class President. And she did look lovely. I particularly love her hair.

I wonder who will play her part in the upcoming movie.

"There's simply too much of the usual uncritical conspirabunk readings-in and speculating."

My guess is that this was your first post at The Next Hurrah. If you had bought and read emptywheel's book, Anatomy of Deceit, or taken the time to read some prior posts, you wouldn't be making such a factually flawed statement. After you've read AOD, I think you'll want to come back and apologize to emptywheel for the seriously disrespectful tone you used, as well as the fact that your statement about the "usual uncritical conspirabunk" could not have been more inaccurate.

There were two things that bothered me. The first is simple. She didn’t sound like a lawyer - at all. When she talked about her asking about political affiliations, or ruling out people with "liberal" leanings in their background, she used the phrase "stepped over the line." When she talked about her conversation with Gonzales, she "felt uncomfortable" and didn’t respond to him. She balked at either thing being "unlawful" or even "inappropriate." What did she mean, "Stepped over the line?" She was way on the other side of the next county, far beyond sight of the "line." What Monica Goodling did for a living was screen applicants for jobs at the DoJ to insure that they were loyal Republicans - more than that, that they had no hint of "liberal" leanings. That’s not the way lawyers talk. Her whole job, her reason for being, was against the law for very obvious reasons, and she didn’t seem to really understand that. Loyalties? Monica Goodling was a political operative of the first kind - analogous to a Nazi Bureaucrat making sure no one with Jewish or Gipsy traits got into the Reich’s heirarchy, and she doesn’t seem to have known that’s what she was. The LAW wasn’t a part of what she said, at least not the LAW of the land. Even ambulance chasers know the LAW.

The second thing is harder to explain. Monica Goodling talked as though what she was doing was a good thing, the right thing. Somehow, when she was distraught in Margoles’ office saying, "all I wanted to do was serve this President, this Administration, this Department," she was serious. Hers was a morality of service for a higher cause, and, of course, making sure that the hirees were good Republicans [good Christians] and not "liberal" [Satan’s Spawn] was serving her President/Administration/Department [the Lord]. That is an absolutely amazing mentality - a Hitler’s Youth mentality, a Red Guard mentality. Monica Goodling appeared to me to be a brain-washed person - the American counterpart to the Islamic Jihadist suicide bomber.

This obviously competent woman went to Pat Robertson’s Law School and came out with none of the natural carriage of her profession, brain-washed with a holy mission that is in direct opposition to the basic tenets of the government she served and its Constitution. The Administration’s agenda, and the agenda of her particular religious affiliations was a higher power than the LAWs of our country.

Her naivity and seeming innocence was more damning than had she been an Ann Coulter or a Jack Abramoff. I doubt she has any idea what a tragic figure she has allowed herself to become. When confronted with something, she often responded, "I didn’t mean to," like a little girl who had spilled milk on her new dress - still not seeming to realize the gravity of her misdeed.

Monica Goodling isn’t "over the line." She’s a criminal…

Did anybody ask who recommended Dowd or Akin Gump to her? How did she come to choose that law firm? Did she specifically ask for Dowd? Did she know anybody who worked there? Did someone else arrange the first meeting?

For something like this, a reasonable person doesn't run through the phone book searching the ads for litigators!

Following the money is a good trail, but following the rolodex is another, and given this incestuous web of connections, I'd like to know who arranged for representation so far out of her price range.

I'd bet on Comstock.

Goodling worked closely with her, and Comstock found solid attorneys to defend Libby. She'd also help financially... by simply assuring Akin Gump that while Goodling may not be able to pay for more than the initial retainer, there would be people covering her bills. If Comstock made the connection, Dowd would realize that he wasn't just defending Goodling, even if it wasn't directly stated. Her involvement alone would be enough of a hint.

Now, to which address do those bills go?

And, let's say that it comes to several hundred thousand dollars. Does Goodling have to declare that as a gift? IIRC, even bribes or other ill-gotten gains are taxable and need to be entered on her returns. Before she walked into Dowd's office, she had to have some foreknowledge that the debt she was going to run up would be covered if she played her part well enough. And part of her act was to be innocent little girl.

Besides Skull & Bones and the Federalist Society, are the Masons involved? There is so much firewall construction and stonewalling everywhere, that people will be tripping over each other's bricks or dodging mortars without some organization.

[OK, that last was an attempt to inject a bit of humor. "Met on the level and parted on the square" absolutely doesn't apply to anybody in this Administration.]

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